Timothy W. Lineberry, M.D. of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Mayo Clinic discusses the prevalence of suicidal behavior and risk within the general population in a primary care practice and reviews the basics related to management and assessment of suicide risk behavior. The paper was published in the August 2011 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Suicide is a public health problem and a leading cause of death. The number of people thinking seriously about suicide, making plans, and attempting suicide is surprisingly high. In total, primary care clinicians write more prescriptions for antidepressants than mental health clinicians and see patients more often in the month before their death by suicide.
Treatment of depression by primary care physicians is improving, but opportunities remain in addressing suicide-related treatment variables. Collaborative care models for treating depression have the potential both to improve depression outcomes and decrease suicide risk. Alcohol use disorders and anxiety symptoms are important comorbid conditions to identify and treat.
Management of suicide risk includes understanding the difference between risk factors and warning signs, developing a suicide risk assessment, and practically managing suicidal crises.
Anna K. McDowell, M.D., Timothy W. Lineberry, M.D., and J. Michael Bostwick, M.D.