Emergency Department Suicidal Screenings

emergencyEmergency Department (ED) Suicidal Screening can predict a significant number of individuals at risk for suicide, according to a recent study published in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.  This study reports that many who seek treatment in Emergency Departments struggle with depression and have either attempted or considered suicide at some point in their lives.  Therefore, EDs are in a unique position to identify potentially suicidal individuals and begin the process for treatment.

The study found that over one-third of the patients in EDs screened positive for depression, and a sizable number indicated that they had considered or attempted suicide in the past.  Questionnaires proved to be critical in identifying those at risk so that the medical professionals could provide appropriate treatment that included not only the presenting issue, but also the underlying problems.

While some critics do not believe ED Suicidal Screenings should be required, others believe that it should be mandatory especially considering the results of another study whose results were included in the May 2015 edition of Med Care.  This study found of its almost 23,000 participants, nearly 38 percent of patients who attempted suicide had a healthcare visit in the week prior to their attempt, and 95 percent had a healthcare encounter in the year prior.  While some of these patients tend to see their primary care provider instead of seeking care in EDs, the great majority of at risk patients have other conditions which require emergency treatment.

ED Suicidal Screening provides a safeguard for individuals who otherwise might not be identified as at risk.  EDs then have the resources to offer appropriate choices and healthcare options for these patients.  Suicide prevention is a primary goal of healthcare providers, and EDs can help save even more lives through appropriate screening.





Haven Footer Logo

5400 Gibson Blvd SE, Box 8
Albuquerque, NM 87108
main: 505-254-4500