Assessment of Suicide Risk
In this station you wish to assess the patients likelihood to attempt suicide. It is basically a psychiatric history station and you must establish a good rapport with the patient.
Introduce yourself to the patient and explain that you wish to talk to them about their recent attempt to harm themselves.
The assessment has 6 main components to it:..
1) The history of the current episode of self harm.
- What precipitated the attempt?
- Was it planned?
- What method did they use?
- Was a suicide note left?
- Was the patient intoxicated (drugs/alcohol)?
- Was the patient alone?
- Were there any precautions against discovery (e.g. waited until house empty)?
- Did the patient seek help after the attempt or were they found and brought in by someone else?
2) Assess risk factors for suicide
- Male sex
- Age > 45 years
- Divorced, widowed or single
- Physical illness
- Psychiatric illness
- Substance misuse
- Previous suicide attempts
- Family history of depression, substance misuse or suicide
3) Assess the patients mood, especially noting if they are depressed or angry
4) Will the patient be returning to the same situation, e.g. problems at home?
5) What does the patient think about the future?
6) Ask about current suicide thoughts.
Thank the patient for speaking to you.
You should summarise your findings to the examiner stating the patients suicide risk. You should also suggest what to do next, e.g. hospitalisation.