alexa The Irrationality Of Suicide Risk Assessment
ISSN: 2167-1044

Journal of Depression and Anxiety
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3rd International Conference on Depression, Anxiety and Stress Management
June 21-22, 2017 London, UK

Declan Murray
University of Limerick, Ireland
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: J Depress Anxiety
DOI: 10.4172/2167-1044-C1-003
Psychiatrists in many settings routinely encounter patients who are at risk of suicide. Where the risk is apparent, assessment includes estimating the likelihood of suicide in words such as ‘low, medium or high’. Clinical experience suggests that a ‘high’ suicide risk rating can trigger a cascade of events in which high anxiety creates a powerful urge to eliminate risk immediately. The result can be medicalization and/or hospital admission for a psychosocial crisis. The immediate emotional relief for all involved and the lost opportunity to learn relevant coping skills reinforce repetition of the cycle. Patient suicide has psychiatric consequence for doctors who themselves have a high suicide rate. All this occurs in spite of the fact that it is far from clear what ‘high suicide risk’ actually means, and many of those who die by suicide were not deemed to have been at high risk. There are four reasons to question the practice of assessing an individual’s risk of suicide at all i.e., suicide is uncommon even in psychiatric patients; suicide risk factors have little or no predictive validity; yet statistical predictions of human behaviour are actually superior to clinical assessments; and suicide determinations are not easy even after the even after the event. The reasons we continue to do suicide risk assessments in spite of the evidence is discussed. What should be done? Make services safe for all patients irrespective of an individual’s perceived risk. Skillfully helping those presenting in emotional crisis.

Email: [email protected]

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