Screening and assessment of suicide risk in medical settings is crucial to providing safety and treatment to a suicidal patient. Suicide is the tenth-leading cause of death in the United States, ahead of both prostate cancer and automobile accidents. A devastating event for family, friends, and care providers, suicide is preventable. Because 50 percent of individuals who die by suicide see a medical provider within one month before their passing—often for treatment of depression—the issue of suicide prevention is of particular importance in the health care setting. Kaiser Permanente is committed to developing an evidence-based approach to preventing suicide in health care settings by systematically screening patients for suicide risk, providing structured assessment of those identified as being at risk, and following up with interventions that include crisis response planning, removal of lethal means, and integrated behavioral health care.
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