As a health care or behavioral health provider, you play a critical role in the recognition, prevention, and treatment of suicidal behavior. No matter the setting—primary care office, emergency department, or mental health and substance abuse treatment center—you are in a unique position to identify clinically salient risk factors and warning signs in your patients such as:
and provide treatment and relief.
The Health Care and Behavioral Health Providers web pages contain resources, information, and tools to assist you in making suicide prevention an integral part of your practice.
For the suicidal patient, a visit with the primary care provider (PCP) may be the only chance to connect with the health care system and access effective treatment. Consider: Only 32% of the individuals who died by suicide had contact with mental health services in the year before their deaths, but 75% of them saw their PCP.
An emergency department (ED) visit is a potentially life-saving opportunity to intervene with patients who may be suicidal, whether they present for medical emergencies or mental health crises.
Increasing access to and providing quality mental health services are two effective suicide prevention strategies. They are also key components of any comprehensive suicide prevention approach.