Suicide Prevention, Part 1: Identifying and Predicting Risk, Vulnerable Populations, Public Perceptions, and Priority Settings

Published October 2020

The Psychiatric Services Editor’s Choice provides essential curated collections from recent issues of Psychiatric Services.  Each month, Editor Lisa Dixon and the Early Career Psychiatrist Advisory Committee offer a curated collection from the rich resource of articles published in the journal. Updates will focus on one area, summarizing for the researcher, clinician, and policy analyst the latest information and seminal research with links to specific content from Psychiatric Services.

The topic of suicide prevention has long been a priority among mental health services researchers. A search of the key term “suicide prevention” in the Psychiatric Services archives yielded 445 articles since 1967, including 190 in the past 15 years alone. It also revealed a remarkable breadth of scholarship on a subject as complex as it is elusive; despite clinicians’ best efforts at prevention, suicide rates continue to rise year after year, and many experts fear this trend may be exacerbated by the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant economic collapse.

In this two-part Editor’s Choice, we aim to represent this multifaceted body of work while acknowledging that this is just a sliver of the complete literature on the topic. Part 1 begins with research articles that explore tools for identifying people who may be at increased risk of suicide and for predicting which individuals may engage in self-harm. These tools include the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire, psychiatric diagnosis, and self-report. Next, we look at populations particularly vulnerable to dying by suicide, including adolescents, college students, active duty soldiers, veterans, and older adults. Some of the most-read articles in Psychiatric Services are in the section on public perceptions of suicide. Finally, as demonstrated in the subsequent group of articles, many studies examine specific clinical settings for suicide prevention, such as outpatient mental health and primary care appointments, emergency department (ED) visits, and follow-up after discharge from inpatient psychiatric units.

Part 2 of this collection focuses on evidence-based practices, cost-effectiveness, and future directions in suicide prevention.

Please note that not all articles in this curated collection are available without a subscription. For access, learn about subscribing to Psychiatric Services.


Does Suicidal Ideation as Measured by the PHQ-9 Predict Suicide Among VA Patients?
Samantha A. Louzon, M.P.H., Robert Bossarte, Ph.D., John F. McCarthy, Ph.D., M.P.H., Ira R. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
2016, Volume 67, Issue 5, pp. 517–522

Coping With Suicidal Thoughts: A Survey of Personal Experience
Gregory E. Simon, M.D., M.P.H., Cynthia Specht, B.A., Allen Doederlein, B.A.
2016, Volume 67, Issue 9, pp. 1026–1029

Diagnosed Mental Health Conditions and Risk of Suicide Mortality
Hsueh-Han Yeh, Ph.D., Joslyn Westphal, M.P.H., Yong Hu, M.A., Edward L. Peterson, Ph.D., L. Keoki Williams, M.D., M.P.H., Deepak Prabhakar, M.D., M.P.H., Cathrine Frank, M.D., Kirsti Autio, M.S.W., Farah Elsiss, M.S., T.L.L.P., Gregory E. Simon, M.D., M.P.H., Arne Beck, Ph.D., Frances L. Lynch, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., Rebecca C. Rossom, M.D., M.S., Christine Y. Lu, Ph.D., M.Sc., Ashli A. Owen-Smith, Ph.D., S.M., Beth E. Waitzfelder, Ph.D., Brian K. Ahmedani, Ph.D.
2019, Volume 70, Issue 9, pp. 750–757

Self-Reported Suicidal Ideation as a Predictor of Suicidal Behavior Among Outpatients With Diagnoses of Psychotic Disorders
Gregory E. Simon, M.D., M.P.H., Bobbi Jo Yarborough, Ph.D., Rebecca C. Rossom, M.D., M.S., Jean M. Lawrence, Sc.D., M.P.H., Frances L. Lynch, Ph.D., Beth E. Waitzfelder, Ph.D., Brian K. Ahmedani, Ph.D., Susan M. Shortreed, Ph.D.
2019, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp. 176–183

Best Practices: The Utah Youth Suicide Study: Best Practices for Suicide Prevention Through the Juvenile Court System
Doug Gray, M.D., Kristin L. Dawson, M.D., Todd C. Grey, M.D., and William M. McMahon, M.D.
2011, Volume 62, Issue 12, pp. 1416–1418

Mental Health Service Use Among Suicidal Adolescents: Findings From a U.S. National Community Survey
Ping Wu, Ph.D., Bozena J. Katic, M.P.H., M.P.A., Xinhua Liu, Ph.D., Bin Fan, M.D., Cordelia J. Fuller, M.S.
2010, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp. 17–24

Suicide Risk Assessment and Prevention: A Systematic Review Focusing on Veterans
Heidi D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., Lauren M. Denneson, Ph.D., Allison R. Low, B.A., Brian W. Bauer, M.S., Maya O’Neil, Ph.D., Devan Kansagara, M.D., M.C.R., Alan R. Teo, M.D., M.S.
2017, Volume 68, Issue 10, pp. 1003–1015

Research to Reduce the Suicide Rate Among Older Adults: Methodology Roadblocks and Promising Paradigms
Katalin Szanto, M.D., Eric J. Lenze, M.D., Margda Waern, M.D., Ph.D., Paul Duberstein, Ph.D., Martha L. Bruce, Ph.D., M.P.H., Gary Epstein-Lubow, M.D., and Yeates Conwell, M.D.
2013, Volume 64, Issue 6, pp. 586–589

Public Awareness Campaigns About Depression and Suicide: A Review
Hélène Dumesnil, M.S., Pierre Verger, M.D., M.S.
2009, Volume 60, Issue 9, pp. 1203–1213

13 Reasons Why: Viewing Patterns and Perceived Impact Among Youths at Risk of Suicide
Victor Hong, M.D., Cynthia J. Ewell Foster, Ph.D., Christina S. Magness, L.M.S.W., Taylor C. McGuire, B.S., Patricia K. Smith, M.S., Cheryl A. King, Ph.D.
2019, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp. 107–114

Increases in Demand for Crisis and Other Suicide Prevention Services After a Celebrity Suicide
Rajeev Ramchand, Ph.D., Elan Cohen, M.S., John Draper, Ph.D., Michael Schoenbaum, Ph.D., Dan Reidenberg, Psy.D., Lisa Colpe, Ph.D., M.P.H., Jerry Reed, Ph.D., Jane Pearson, Ph.D.
2019, Volume 70, Issue 8, pp. 728–731

Service Use in the Month and Year Prior to Suicide Among Adults Enrolled in Ohio Medicaid
Cynthia A. Fontanella, Ph.D., Lynn A. Warner, Ph.D., Danielle L. Hiance-Steelesmith, M.S.W., Helen Anne Sweeney, M.S., Jeffrey A. Bridge, Ph.D., Richard McKeon, Ph.D., John V. Campo, M.D.
2017, Volume 68, Issue 7, pp. 674–680

Critical Periods for Increased Mortality After Discharge From Inpatient Mental Health Units: Opportunities for Prevention
Ira R. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Talya Peltzman, M.P.H., Jenefer M. Jedele, Ph.D., M.Sc., John F. McCarthy, Ph.D., M.P.H.
2019, Volume 70, Issue 6, pp. 450–456

Understanding Why Patients May Not Report Suicidal Ideation at a Health Care Visit Prior to a Suicide Attempt: A Qualitative Study
Julie E. Richards, M.P.H., Ursula Whiteside, Ph.D., Evette J. Ludman, Ph.D., Chester Pabiniak, B.A., Beth Kirlin, B.A., Rianna Hidalgo, B.A., Greg Simon, M.D., M.P.H.
2019, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp. 40–45

Mental Health Service Use Among Adults With Suicide Ideation, Plans, or Attempts: Results From a National Survey
Ian H. Stanley, B.A., Melanie A. Hom, B.A., Thomas E. Joiner, Ph.D.
2015, Volume 66, Issue 12, pp. 1296–1302

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