Suicide Risk Assessment

Risk for death by suicide varies by age, gender, and ethnicity, as well as the individual profile for risk and protective factors. Suicide risk assessment refers to the specific process of evaluating an individual’s likelihood of engaging in suicidal behavior—an intentional, self-inflicted act that will lead to one’s own death. Because suicide is a leading cause of death, worldwide suicide risk assessment is critical for preventing fatal and nonfatal suicide attempts. However, suicide risk assessment can be challenging due to (a) the complex and overwhelming abundance of psychiatric, interpersonal, and environmental factors, leading to imprecise risk evaluations; (b) the stigma, which increases the individual’s reluctance to disclose suicide thoughts and plans; (c) fear, which compromises health and mental health professionals’ willingness to inquire about ...

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