Clinical Pathway for Suicide Risk Screening in Adult Primary Care Settings

Special Recommendations

Published in: Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (2022). doi: 10.1016/j.jaclp.2022.05.003

Posted on RAND.org on June 22, 2022

by Lynsay Ayer, Lisa M. Horowitz, Lisa Colpe, Nathan J. Lowry, Patrick C. Ryan, Edwin Boudreaux, Virna Little, Stephen Erban, Soett Ramirez-Estrada, Michael Schoenbaum

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Suicide is a serious public health concern. On average, 80% of suicide decedents had contact with primary care within one year of their suicide. This and other research underscore the importance of screening for suicide risk within primary care settings, and implementation of suicide risk screening is already underway in many practices. However, while primary care practices may be familiar with screening for other mental health concerns (e.g., depression), many feel uncomfortable or unprepared for suicide risk screening. To meet the increasing demand for evidence-based suicide-risk screening guidance, we provide a clinical pathway for adult primary care practices (to include family medicine, internal medicine, women's health). The pathway was developed by experts with research, clinical expertise and experience in suicide risk screening and primary care. We also provide detailed guidance to aid primary care practices in their decisions about how to implement the clinical pathway.

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