Suicide Risk Assessment

Proper training is crucial in conducting suicide risk assessment

Suicide is the most tragic outcome in mental health care. Mental health professionals must have a passion for life. They have a duty to conduct a comprehensive suicide risk assessment of any potentially suicidal patient.

Mental health professionals should have adequate training to know the signs of suicide and the relevant risk factors. To conduct a proper suicide risk assessment, the healthcare professional should be trained in the proper way to inquire about suicidal thinking to allow patients to open up and share their thoughts.

Who is at risk for suicide?

Although suicide occurs in every race, gender and age group, generally older or adolescent white males are at higher risk for suicide. Patients with a history of suicide attempts are at higher risk. Patients suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, drug dependency or abuse disorders, and schizophrenia are at higher risk for suicide. The mental health professional must consider these risk factors when assessing his or her patient's potential for suicide.

In addition, a mental health professional has a duty to directly inquire about his or her patient's suicidal thinking. Has the patient been considering suicide? Has the patient formulated a plan? Does the patient intend to carry out the plan? Even if the patient denies suicidal thinking, the clinician must consider the entire picture. Is the patient experiencing unusual stresses? Has the patient made statements to others which indicate that he or she has been considering suicide? Does the patient's history, psychiatric disorder, or current condition suggest that the patient is at risk for suicide?

In the clinical setting, suicide prevention begins with suicide risk assessment. If an assessment is done improperly - or worse, if it is not done at all - the unfortunate result could be the suicide of the patient. The failure to conduct a proper suicide risk assessment is negligence, for which the mental health professional may be held liable.

How an attorney can help

For a free case review, call 214-618-8222 or contact the Law Offices of Skip Simpson online. When a loved one has died by suicide due to the negligence of a medical practitioner, it's important to take action sooner rather than later to protect your rights.

Help break the cycle. Your actions could help prevent the loss of others in the future. Speak with a caring and compassionate lawyer who fights hard for families affected by suicide. Contact the Law Offices of Skip Simpson today.