STARS Protocol: Enhancing Co-authorship of Commensurate Care

Lived Experience of Suicide Summit Workshop


Organisation Involved: Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) Griffith University

Workshop Facilitators: Jacinta Hawgood (AISRAP) & Carmen Betterridge (Suicide Risk Assessment Australia)

Workshop Duration: 3 hours


STARS Protocol: Enhancing Co-authorship of Commensurate Care

This workshop aims to obtain the perceptions of those with a lived experience of suicide on the structure and terminology used for several of the Systematic Tailored Assessment for Responding to Suicidality (STARS) protocol interview questions. 

The STARS protocol is the only semi-structured psycho-social, person-centred suicide assessment protocol in Australia. It can be used by both the clinical and non-clinical workforce as a collaborative process (between worker and client) for uncovering the person’s suicide intent, the contributing psycho-social factors to their suicidality, and for developing a person-centred safety plan and response strategy.  

The authors of STARS protocol (Hawgood & De Leo, 2018) are enthusiastic about updating the current 2018 Edition. They recognise the critical need for lived experience input into the use of appropriate terminology and language for certain questions (protocol items) for sections A, B and C of this protocol. 

This workshop will focus on:

a) providing an overview of STARS protocol and training schedule (including modules, topics)
b) obtaining lived experience guidance and feedback from small break-out groups (groups allocated to review of sections A, B and C of the protocol)
c) summarising with the larger group an agreement or resolution of outcomes for newly constructed language for questions where applicable.

NOTE: This workshop may use Griffith University Ethics for recording of workshop participant feedback around final stages of discussion on protocol questions for Parts A, B and C of the protocol. This request will be negotiated with Roses in the Ocean for a collaborative paper to be published on the co-design of Item-construction of STARS protocol.


Expected Workshop Outcomes:

  • Increased participant knowledge of STARS protocol – as a semi-structured, psycho-social, person-centred suicide assessment interview, focused on bringing a person to a “life worth more living”. 
  • Increased participant knowledge of the evidence informed domains of enquiry for uncovering a person’s suicidality, as well as collaboratively planning for their safety against minimum standards of duty of care.
  • Participant contribution towards newly co-designed terminology/language for protocol items in Parts A, B and C of STARS protocol and the potential for a joint peer reviewed journal publication (AISRAP and Roses in the Ocean)

About the Facilitators

Jacinta Hawgood: Jacinta is a registered clinical psychologist and has worked at AISRAP since 2000. In 2001, Jacinta and Emeritus Professor Diego De Leo developed the Graduate Certificate in Suicide Prevention and Master of Suicidology Programs, the first of their kind in the world. Jacinta is program director of these tertiary based programs and has developed, delivered and evaluated suicide prevention training since 2000. Jacinta has specialist education, clinical and research interest in suicide risk assessment processes, personal suicide stigma, and the impacts of suicide on the worker. She has worked clinically with suicidal people for over 20 years and has supervised other psychologists in this domain for over 15 years. Jacinta is the author of Systematic Tailored Assessment for Responding to Suicidality (STARS) protocol published first in 2015, and updated in 2018.

Carmen Betterridge: Carmen is Director and Principal Psychologist with Suicide Risk Assessment Australia, facilitating training, supervision and consultation services specific to suicide prevention, clinical workforce and workplace psychological health and safety operations. Carmen co-chairs the Suicide and Workplace Special Interest Group with the International Association of Suicide Prevention and has contributed to systems-based suicide prevention initiatives within NSW Health via the Zero Suicide Australasia Institute. She is Lecturer and Senior Researcher with the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP), Griffith University, in addition to co-facilitating training of the Systematic Tailored Assessment for Responding to Suicidality (STARS) Protocol.