Emergency Physicians Help Identify and Reduce Suicide Risks

Emergency departments frequently encounter suicidal patients, or those at risk of suicide, and emergency physicians play an important role in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of suicidal behaviors.

ACEP and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) developed an online-based suicide risk assessment and treatment tool, iCAR2E, to help assess and manage patients struggling with thoughts of suicide. The two organizations have partnered as part of Project 2025, which aims to reduce the annual suicide rate by 20 percent by 2025.

“Emergency departments nationwide are often at the frontlines of the mental health crisis in this country and the tool will help emergency physicians identify and reduce suicide risks, communicate effectively with patients, and collaborate with other health professionals to extend care as needed beyond the emergency department.” Paul Kivela, MD, MBA, FACEP, past ACEP president

Project 2025 is focused on four critical areas—firearms, healthcare systems, emergency departments and corrections systems— where evidence points to saving the most lives in the shortest amount of time.

An estimated 39 percent of individuals who die by suicide visit an emergency department in the year prior to their death. By encouraging the acceptance and adoption of suicide screening and delivery of follow-up services as a standard of emergency care, we have a greater chance of preventing suicide in these at-risk individuals.

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