Suicide assessment five-step evaluation and triage (SAFE-T) pocket card

Date: 2009
(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)


Type:  Brochure/Booklet
Author:  Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH) and Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
Publisher:  Education Development Center, Inc (EDC)

The SAFE-T card guides clinicians through five steps which address the patient's level of suicide risk and suggest appropriate interventions. It is intended to provide an accessible and portable resource to the mental health professional whose clinical practice includes suicide assessment. The card lists key risk and protective factors that should be considered in the course of completing the five steps. This version of the card, updated in 2009, addresses both adult and adolescent populations. The PDF image of the card prints out in the center of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper because the original is a 6" x 7" two-sided, folded pocket card. Hard copies may be ordered from Screening for Mental Health using the attached order form.

The Suicide Assessment Five-step Evaluation and Triage (SAFE-T) pocket card for mental health clinicians and health care professionals, provides protocols for conducting a comprehensive suicide assessment, estimating suicide risk, identifying protective factors, and developing treatment plans and interventions responsive to the risk level of patients. The pocket card includes brief triage and documentation guidelines for clinicians. It was developed through collaboration between Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH) and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). Douglas Jacobs, CEO and Founder of SMH originally conceived the model of the SAFE-T pocket card. The protocols and guidelines featured on the card were developed based on the American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines for the Assessment and Treatment of Patients with Suicidal Behaviors (see A Resource Guide for Implementing the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations 2007 Patient Safety Goals on Suicide in Section II of the Best Practices Registry for more information about these guidelines).


Professionals who use the SAFE-T pocket card should be better able to:
1.Conduct a comprehensive suicide assessment and triage, estimating suicide risk and developing treatment plans and interventions responsive to the risk level of patients.
2.Identify individuals at risk for suicide.
3.Protect and plan the care of individuals at risk for suicide.

Implementation Essential:

•The SAFE-T pocket card should only be used by healthcare and mental healthcare professionals, and those who have otherwise been trained to work with those at risk for suicide.

Settings:  Behavioral Health Care, Outpatient Mental Health
Strategies:  Identify and Assist, Screening and Assessment, Effective Care/Treatment