There are numerous practice guidelines available for suicide prevention. While no practice guidelines are a substitute for your clinical judgement and decision making, they can offer useful information and serve as a good reference. Many offer information around forming and maintaining a strong therapeutic alliance, safety planning and monitoring, risk assessment, and harm reduction strategies like removing access to firearms. Most guidelines take up to a year to draft, and many are not updated for many years after release, so are not able to reflect the most current evidence. Suicide risk factors often vary by patient, which further makes careful interpretation of these guidelines necessary since only you are able to assess the actual and personal risk factors for your patient. SMI Adviser has assembled a collection of current guidelines you can access. We do not endorse any but offer several, each with a slightly different focus. They include one from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), one from a commercial insurer, one from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and another from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of Patients with Suicidal Behaviors (APA, published 2010)
Clinical Practice Guideline for Assessing and Managing the Suicidal Patient (Magellan Healthcare, published 2018)
VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Management of Patients at Risk for Suicide (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, published 2013)
Clinical Guidelines: Screening for Suicide Risk in Adolescents, Adults, and Older Adults in Primary Care: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement (Annals of Internal Medicine, published 2014)
Assessment and Management of Patients at Risk for Suicide: Synopsis of the 2019 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guidelines (Annals of Internal Medicine, published 2019)