NIMH · Emergency Department Suicide Screening Tool Accurately Predicts At Risk Youth

I had a look at this report because I was curious what the four questions were of this suicide screening tool…

Turns out they are:
– current thoughts of being better off dead
– current wish to die
– current suicidal ideation, and
– history of suicide attempt

And that “Positive responses to 1 or more of these 4 questions identified 97% of the youth at risk for suicide”.

Am I being disingenuous thinking that this research is “discovering” the bleeding obvious – i.e. the best way to find out (the best predictor) if someone is suicidal is to… duh! … ask them!

Apparently you can get grants for this sort of research…

Cheers – David


3 thoughts on “NIMH · Emergency Department Suicide Screening Tool Accurately Predicts At Risk Youth

  1. I think that you may have missed the importance of this study. It is not that the questions are earth-shattering, but that it was implemented. There are many barriers for people to actually ask questions about suicide (including the erroneous belief, that it may “put the idea into someone’s head”). Staff in a busy Emergency Department are unlikely to ask these questions unless they form part of a protocol, and so at-risk individuals may go undetected and untreated.

    • Thanks, Georgina, but I think you just reinforce/clarify the point I was making. The demand for “evidence based” protocols has become so extreme and absurd that we abandon common sense. As you say, studies like this are now necessary to give permission for what should be common sense, human responses, which puts staff in an impossible situation.

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