(From http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Suicidality)

Risk Factors
Suicide is a complex act that represents the end result of a combination of factors in any individual. These factors include biological vulnerabilities, life history, occupation, present social circumstances, and the availability of means for committing suicide. While these factors do not "cause" suicide in the strict sense, some people are at greater risk of self-harm than others. Risk factors for suicide include:

When a person consults a doctor because they are thinking of committing suicide, or they are taken to a doctor's office or emergency room after a suicide attempt, the doctor will evaluate the patient's potential for acting on their thoughts or making another attempt. The physician's assessment will be based on several different sources of information:

Specific Steps to Take (From http://www.psychpage.com/learning/library/counseling/suicide.html)
First, remember to do three things:
  1. consult - this allows for another opinion, better care, and protects you
  2. document, document, document! Everything you do, everyone you talk to, every question you ask the client should be documented
  3. evaluate the client's risk

Questions to Ask

Signs of depression

Level of Risk

Highest risk group has suicidal ideation (thoughts of killing self), a plan (any plan so long as it is definite and detailed is high risk), high lethality (guns and walking in front of busses are more serious than overdosing on Tylenol and slashing wrists), few inhibitors (few reasons not to kill self), low self-control (especially drinking or using drugs - can decide not to kill self but fail to act to reverse events and accidentally kill themselves)

Possible Next Steps

  1. Empathize
  2. Make a No-Suicide Contract
  3. Family Intervention
  4. Hospitalization