Multicenter Study of Predictors of Suicide Screening in Emergency Departments

Emergency departments (EDs) are increasingly recognized as an important component of suicide prevention. Although suicide is difficult to predict in the general population, ED patients presenting with suicide risk factors such as substance abuse or depression are a readily identifiable population at elevated risk for suicidal behavior.  In addition, those who present to EDs for non-mental health reasons have higher proportions of occult or silent suicide ideation (3% to 11.6%).
This has prompted  the Joint Commission and other organizations to recommend adopting better suicide screening practices. However, little is known about current screening for adult suicide risk in ED clinical practice.
The goals of this investigation were to determine the frequency of suicide screening documentation, the proportion of patients with positive suicidal ideation or behavior, and predictors of suicide screening in a sample of EDs.