Suicide rates have continued to rise in the United States. Speculations for this rise proliferate but the causes for the increase remain unknown. While research focuses on identifying causes, the health care system is an important site for identification of patients at risk. Forty percent of individuals who die by suicide were seen in primary care in the month prior to suicide. The Zero Suicide model describes a comprehensive approach for health care systems to aid in identification and intervention of suicidal patients. While this model promises to improve care of suicidal patients, the need for innovation in our approach to understanding and caring for suicidal patients is pressing. Use of technology to enhance moment-to-moment monitoring of at-risk individuals offers promise and the possibility of intervening close to escalation of acute suicidal states. Further, once identified, suicidal individuals are often difficult to engage in treatment. Novel approaches to engagement and treatment that are effective and acceptable to suicidal patients ought to be developed. Specifically, males are much more likely than females to die by suicide. At the same time, males are less likely to seek and remain in the treatments we have to offer. Innovation should seek to identify strategies that are acceptable to males. Additionally, while about half of psychiatric inpatient admissions are suicide related, there is a paucity of suicide-specific psychosocial interventions available for inpatient settings. Innovation in monitoring and treatment offer promise in helping to reduce suicidal behavior in the United States.
Stanley B, Mann JJ. The Need for Innovation in Health Care Systems to Improve Suicide Prevention. JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;77(1):96–98. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.2769
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