In perhaps the largest national suicide intervention trial ever conducted, researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Brown University found that phone calls to suicidal patients following discharge from Emergency Departments led to a 30 percent reduction in future suicide attempts.
The study was published recently in JAMA Psychiatry.
The year-long trial, which involved 1,376 patients in eight locations nationwide, provided suicidal patients with interventions that included specialized screening, safety planning guidance and follow-up telephone calls.
“People who are suicidal are often disconnected and socially isolated,” said study co-author Dr. Michael Allen, MD, professor of psychiatry and emergency medicine at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center at CU Anschutz. “So any positive contact with the world can make them feel better.”
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Allen is also medical director of Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners in Denver which has already implemented a similar program where counselors call suicidal patients following their discharge from Emergency Departments (EDs).
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2015, there were 44,193 deaths by suicide nationally. Over one million people attempt to take their own life every year.