Fast Five Quiz: Suicide

Stephen Soreff, MD


March 26, 2019

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention recommendations suggest a follow-up call be made to patients within 48 hours of release from a psychiatric institution because this population is at one of the highest risks for suicide across any demographic.

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention recommendations do not suggest universal screening for suicide risk. However, screening is recommended among patients with a mental health or substance use diagnosis.

Brief interventions may be effective among patients at risk for suicide. Although the prediction of suicide can be challenging in general, the closer to the onset of the behavioral disruption or mental health crisis, the more accurate the assessment of suicide risk can be. A crisis intervention interview conducted by a psychiatrist or another mental health professional, with a comprehensive psychiatric history and mental status examination, is particularly effective in detecting suicide and homicide potential and preventing injuries.

Comparable to what is recommended among those with suspected alcohol abuse, although slightly more robust, the recommendation suggests creating a safety plan with a patient. This brief intervention should only take a half hour or 40 minutes and can be carried out by a physician assistant or nurse, as well as the physician.

Both the Patient Health Questionnaire and Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale remain feasible screeners with good sensitivity. Other screening tools should be used by clinicians at their own judgment.

Read more about the prevention of suicide here.


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