A complimentary publication of The Joint Commission
Issue 56, February 24, 2016
Detecting and treating suicide ideation in all settings
The rate of suicide is increasing in America. Now the 10th leading cause of death, suicide claims more lives than traffic accidents and more than twice as many as homicides. At the point of care, providers often do not detect the suicidal thoughts (also known as suicide ideation) of individuals (including children and adolescents) who eventually die by suicide, even though most of them receive health care services in the year prior to death, usually for reasons unrelated to suicide or mental health. Timely, supportive continuity of care for those identified as at risk for suicide is crucial, as well.
Through this alert, The Joint Commission aims to assist all health care organizations providing both inpatient and outpatient care to better identify and treat individuals with suicide ideation. Clinicians in emergency, primary and behavioral health care settings particularly have a crucial role in detecting suicide ideation and assuring appropriate evaluation. Behavioral health professionals play an additional important role in providing evidence-based treatment and follow-up care. For all clinicians working with patients with suicide ideation, care transitions are very important. Many patients at risk for suicide do not receive outpatient behavioral treatment in a timely fashion following discharge from emergency departments and inpatient psychiatric settings. The risk of suicide is three times as likely (200 percent higher) the first week after discharge from a psychiatric facility and continues to be high especially within the first year and through the first four years after discharge.
Read the full release: SEA_56_Suicide