Dec 16, 2019

ERs often drop the ball after treating suicidal patients

Emergency rooms don't do a very good job coordinating longer-term care for patients who have attempted suicide — increasing the risk that those patients will try again.

By the numbers: In California, the suicide rate for patients who had been admitted to the ER in the past year for suicidal ideation was a full 57% higher, according to a new study.

Between the lines: The study, published Friday in JAMA Network Open, notes that patients discharged from an ER after an incident of self-harm or unintentional injury often do not receive follow-up mental health care.

  • Most deaths from unintentional injury were from overdose — 72% in the self-harm group and 61% from those with suicide ideation — underscoring the overlap between suicide and overdose risk, according to the National Institute of Health.

Go deeper: Construction industry grapples with high suicide risk

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

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