Are prediction models for suicide risk useful in clinical care?

There are over 40,000 suicide deaths per year in the United States. Predicting those at highest risk of suicide and offering those people extra and just in time support is a priority for the field. Suicide prediction models work by modeling the risk factors a patient may have (e.g., age, access to weapons, gender, etc.) and attempting to identify those at the highest risk. However, in a 2019 JAMA Psychiatry paper, the authors showed that while these models can cluster risk well, the predictive validity associated with a positive result for suicide mortality was extremely low, less than 1% for most models. Thus, these predictive models are not useful when used in isolation.

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