Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Older people-Suicidal behavior, Older people-Psychology, Depression in old age, Social work with older people, Geriatric health care teams-Training of, Suicidal behavior-Risk factors, Communication in social work, Communication in human services, Instructional films, O'Connor, Darlene., Talking with Dolores, Suicide, Depression, Older adults, Geriatric case managers, Education, Training, Film, Risk factors, Signs of suicide, Suicide identification, Discussion, Difficult convervations


Suicide among older adults is an increasing mental health concern in the United States, and yet depression and other signs of suicide often go unnoticed. The film and discussion guide "Talking with Dolores" was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to increase awareness of warnings of depression and suicide in the elderly and demonstrate ways of conversing with them about suicide. Because of their unique contact with older individuals in their own homes, geriatric case managers are positioned as a gateway to necessary psychosocial support for elders, yet may not be receiving adequate training for the initial detection of severe depression and suicide risk. Professional social workers are frequently put into the position of providing training related to the psychosocial needs of clients who are cared for by geriatric case managers. Thus, case managers and social workers alike may benefit from training tools which might increase capabilities of case managers to confront these emotionally charged issues. This study explores whether geriatric case managers think this film/discussion would be a useful training tool for increasing their awareness and comfort in discussing depression and suicide with clients. The data from two focus groups of geriatric case managers in Boston, MA indicated that they perceived that the "Talking with Dolores" training effectively reminded them of their important role in providing psychosocial support to their clients and helped them identify signs of suicide, but did not sufficiently provide them with concrete skills in the management of suicidal ideation. The qualitative data revealed some speculation that "Talking with Dolores" would increase their comfort in discussing depression and suicide with clients. Participants thought it could be a helpful training tool for geriatric case managers. They reported a lack of knowledge and training on the subject was the inhibiting factor for not discussing suicide with their clients. Additional quantitative data showed that the sample's exposure to the Dolores training increased knowledge about suicide risk in the elderly but did not increase their comfort level in discussing suicide with clients.




iv, 70 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 49-60)