« Resources

Suicide Prevention in the Emergency Department

Newton, A. S., Hamm, M. P., Bethel, J., Rhodes, A. E., Bryan, C. J., Tjosvold, L., et al. (2010). Pediatric suicide-related presentations: A systematic review of mental health care in the emergency department. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 36(6), 649-659.

A research review reported that the most promising strategies for preventing suicides among children and adolescents treated for suicide-related issues in emergency departments (EDs) are transition interventions that combine brief educational interventions with follow-up care. Transition interventions were found to (1) reduce the risk of future suicides, (2) reduce future hospitalizations for suicide-related issues, and (3) increase the likelihood that patients would complete treatment (such as follow-up sessions with a mental health professional) after being discharged from the ED. Interventions that take place only during the patient’s initial visit to the ED or only after discharge from the ED have not been found to be as effective.

The authors point out that the number of people treated for suicide-related injuries has increased during the past ten years while hospitalizations of these patients have decreased. Thus, EDs are a critical venue for preventing suicide among people whose behavior shows they are at an extremely elevated risk for suicide, but who are often treated for their physical injuries and released with little probability they will receive appropriately sustained follow-up care.

Read the complete study at www.annemergmed.com.