Education is a key component to assisting patients who are at risk for suicide. The more you know the more support you can provide patients. This section covers education opportunities within and outside of National Jewish Health. You will also find charting examples covering the key factors to include when documenting patient interactions surrounding suicide.
- Download Suicide Awareness and Response Skills Review Study Guide
- Download Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (See Training Opportunities for More Information)
Assessment for suicide can be done by all staff at National Jewish Health and should be completed when concern is present for a patient’s safety. All inpatients at National Jewish Health are screened using the ASQ and PHQ9 Modified for Adolescents and to complete an assessment. Positive results in assessments require an evaluation be completed by a qualified staff member.
Basic components of an assessment include asking;
Have you wished you were dead?
Have you had any thoughts of killing yourself? Or Are you having thoughts of suicide?
Do you have a plan?
Evaluations are done at National Jewish Health by qualified individuals* and are used to determine the level of care needed for a patient who presents with concerns of suicidal ideations. Using the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale Screen Version is required when evaluating an inpatient and recommended when working with outpatients.
*Qualified individuals include:
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Suicidal Ideations or Thoughts
Thoughts about how to kill oneself. They can range from a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration.
“I am going to take this whole bottle of pills to end it.”
“I am going to shoot myself.”
Passive Death Wishes
Thinking about dying or a desire to be dead, without actively making a specific plan to carry out those thoughts.
“Life is not worth living, nothing ever changes”
“I bet if I died today you would not come to my funeral”
Warning Signs of Suicide
Threatening to hurt or kill oneself
Seeking access to means
Talking, writing, or posting on social media about death, dying, or suicide
Feeling worthless or a lack of purpose
Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities
Increasing alcohol or drug use
Withdrawing from family, friends, or society
Demonstrating rage and anger to seeking revenge
Having a dramatic change in mood
Risk Factors for Suicide
History of suicide attempt
Mental Health and/or Depression diagnosis
Alcohol or drug abuse
Family history of a mental health diagnosis
Family history of alcohol or drug abuse
History of suicide in family
Domestic/Child Abuse, including physical or sexual abuse
Having guns or other firearms in the home
Being incarcerated (prison or jail)
Exposed to another's suicidal behavior or death (including family member, peer, or media figure)
Chronic or terminal medical diagnosis
Being between the ages of 15 and 24 years or over age 60
Identifies risk factors/warning signs of suicide
Basic communication strategies if you suspect or know someone is suicidal?