Suicide Screening Questions

When you make a diagnosis of unipolar or bipolar depression‚ suicide risk requires assessment. Ask the following progressive questions. If question 1 IS negative and suspicion is low‚ you can skip the subsequent questions.
Questions to assess thoughts of suicide
1.     Have these symptoms/feelings (of depression) we’ve been talking about led you to think you might be better off dead? …YES … NO
2.     This past week‚ have you had any thoughts that life is not worth living or that you’d be better off dead? …YES … NO
3.     What about thoughts about hurting or even killing yourself? …YES … NO
If “YES”‚ go to question 4. If “NOT”‚ stop
4.     What have you thought about? Have you actually done anything to hurt yourself? …YES … NO
Risk factors for suicide’ (VERDICT UTHSCSA)
Hopelessness
Prior suicide attempts
Substance abuse
Caucasian race
Family history of suicide attempts
Medical illness
Male gender
Family history of substance abuse
Psychosis
 
Advanced age
Access to means
 
 
Living alone
Assessment of Suicide Risk and Action Plan
Description of Patient Symptoms
level of Risk
Action
 No current thoughts;
no major factors
(Major risks are BOLDED)
Low
Continue follow-up Visits and monitoring
Current thoughts‚ but no plans With or Without risk factors
Intermediate
Assess suicide risk carefully at each visit and contract With parent to call You if Suicide thoughts become more prominent. Consult with mental health specialist as need.
Current thoughts plans
High
Emergency management by qualified
 
Suicide risk as designated by the faculty and staff of South Texas Veterans Healthcare Systems and the University of Texas Health Care Service Center (VERDICT UTHSCSA)
Permission for use granted by John WiIIiams Jr.‚ MD