the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that death by suicide has now exceeded death by motor vehicle accidents for U.S. children aged 10-14 years for the first time in history
The suicide rate in the U.S. has been gradually rising over the past 15 years. Over 40,000 individuals died by suicide in 2014.
About half of all suicide victims were seen in healthcare settings within the preceding 30 days.
This would seem to imply that healthcare settings may encourage suicide. This makes a lot of sense if people in pain are left without relief.
Nearly 8,000 were seen in emergency rooms for suicide attempts in the preceding year
531 suicides occurred in jail or prison, and suicide claimed 269 lives among active duty military members
How can we identify such at-risk individuals?
Of course, the goal of our efforts is not only to identify at-risk individuals, but to treat them, improve quality of life, and prevent deaths.
The Mental Health Research Network is using their Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9 screening tool to refer high-risk patients to treatments aimed at reducing suicidal ideation; this trial will include about 20,000 at-risk patients.
They do not explain what a “high-risk patient” is. I have never noticed any healthcare worker or doctor concerned about a patient’s terrible quality of life, especially after effective pain relievers are denied.
Building on the ED-SAFE findings, the University of Massachusetts Health “Systems of Safety” study will test combined screening, safety planning, and referral practices
The VA is implementing their prediction algorithm in a trial to examine whether referral to follow-up care can reduce suicide attempts in identified high-risk individuals.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention , an important advocacy group and a member of the National Action Alliance, commissioned a modeling effort, calculating the potential effects of interventions such as those described above, coupled with means reduction efforts such as gun safety programs
They estimate that simply applying evidence-based practices has the potential to reduce the national suicide rate by as much as 20 percent.
There are thousands of examples of opioids providing effective relief for chronic pain, sometimes extremely so.