By Dr. Bart Andrews
The suicide rate continues to climb. In some parts of the country, the number of deaths from suicide has increased 40%. Boarding in emergency departments is becoming common place as per capita psychiatric bed space is at an all-time low in the era of modern mental health treatment. In addition, there is good evidence that inpatient treatment may not be the best treatment for most individuals at risk of suicide. As the risk of suicide increases, there seem to be fewer and fewer resources for individuals who are struggling with suicide thoughts. Increased demand for services combined with diminishing availability for timely mental health care creates some interesting challenges for those of us in the field of suicide prevention. Combined with the resource pinch, individuals with suicide thoughts can be reluctant to engage mental health services out of fear, shame and stigma. The above challenges suggest the need for new approaches to identifying those at risk and assisting with appropriate service linkage. Primary care practices have the potential to play a key role in revolutionizing how individuals at risk of suicide gain access to appropriate services. Please join us this Thur. at 2pm EST for a free webinar to learn more about the role of primary care professionals and suicide prevention.