How Four Questions Can Help Assess if Anxious Kids are at Risk for Suicide

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Children, adolescents and teens are not immune from suicide, especially if they happen to be anxious children, adolescents and teens who suffer from mental health issues. The good news is a set of inquiries developed for use in the emergency department that can help assess at-risk youth in fewer than 2 minutes.

The four key questions were winnowed down from a total of 17, all of which were presented to 524 patients age 10 to 21 years old. Results of the study, which was administered by researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health, were published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Emergency room nurses and doctors are key players to pose the questions since the majority of people who die by suicide have paid a visit to a health care professional anywhere from three months to one year prior to their death, the NIMH reports. Additionally, many use the hospital emergency room as the only contact with the medical professional, NIMH adds.

So what are the questions?

The questions are available in questionnaire form for use as a screening tool at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2013/asq_instrument_final.pdf

Read the full article at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2013/emergency-department-suicide-screening-tool-accurately-predicts-at-risk-youth.shtml

Study info:

Horowitz LM, Bridge JA, Teach SJ, Ballard E, Klima J, Rosenstein DL, Wharff EA, Ginnis K, Cannon E, Joshi P, Pao M. Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ). A Brief Instrument for the Pediatric Emergency Department. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. December 2012. 166(12):1170–1176.

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