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June 17, 2020

Do Brief Preventive Interventions for Patients at Suicide Risk Work?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;77(10):997-999. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1287

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause among youths and young adults aged 10 to 34 years. There has been an alarmingly increased trend in suicide rates in the United States over the past 2 decades, from 10.5 to 14.0 per 100 000 or a 33% increase between 1999 and 2017.1 Studies show that 91.7% of people who die by suicide had a health care contact with an emergency department visit, primary care, or outpatient specialty setting within a year prior to suicide, 54% within 30 days, and 29.6% within 1 week prior to suicide.2 Thus, the need for effective brief interventions that could be easily applied by a range of clinicians at each one of these settings to reduce risk for suicide is now more important than ever. We thank Doupnik et al3 for their important contribution conducting a meta-analysis on studies addressing brief preventive interventions for acute suicide risk. The results provide valuable information for clinicians, researchers, and health policy makers about whether these interventions work to determine whether these strategies should be implemented to reduce the public health burden of suicidal behavior.

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