Two important articles on suicide prevention

The Journal of the American Medical Association , published “Getting Serious about Reducing Suicide; More “How” and Less “Why”,  on 11-2-15.  The authors discuss suicide as a public health illness or disorder. The article reviews some interesting research support of reducing access to guns by people at risk, and recommends that the CDC follow-up by doing more specific public health research on the problem.

NPR published “What Happens If You Try to Prevent Every Single Suicide?”  On 11 -2- 15. This article describes an innovative program in Detroit developed by the Henry Ford Health System that relied on increases in staff training, integrative care, and patient outreach to patients identified with suicidal risk. This program has remarkably reduced the rate of suicide for this systems’ population. The program has been adapted by a behavioral health system in Nashville, and has resulted in significant reduction in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for people with suicidal risk managed by that system. The system relies on use of electronic health records and a high level of involvement by the behavioral specialists in the system.  The article concludes:

Research is needed on the effects of public health interventions, policies, laws, and implementation strategies, thereby enabling (1) more effective identification of persons at risk of suicide, (2) more effective approaches to limiting their access to lethal means–firearms, in particular–during times of risk, and (3) development of ways to appropriately balance risk and rights, without further stigmatizing people with mental illnesses or inhibiting their disclosure of suicidal ideation.

 

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