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By Jonathan Springston, Associate Managing Editor, AHC Media
Between 1999 and 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24%, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with an accelerated rate since 2006. While the rates increased for both men and women as well as those 10-74 years of age, the greatest increase occurred for females aged 10-14 years and men 45-64 years of age.
From 1986 to 1999, suicide rates steadily decreased. So what set off the increase at the turn of the century? While there are no concrete answers, NPR Health interviewed several experts who pegged the rise to a variety of issues, including economic stagnation, lack of access to health insurance and treatment, and an increased use of heroin and opioid painkillers. And why the particularly sharp increase among adolescent girls? For that, no one even speculated.
The cover story of the May issue of ED Management sounds the alarm about suicide risk. Specifically, The Joint Commission, in its latest Sentinel Event Alert, spotlights the inescapable fact that in too many instances, healthcare providers are not recognizing signs of suicide risk in patients who present for care. From the issue:
“The agency notes that between 2010 and 2014, its Sentinel Event Database received 1,089 reports of suicides. The most common root cause cited in these cases was inadequate assessment. According to TJC, in 2014 more than 21% of accredited behavioral health organizations and 5% of accredited hospitals were non-compliant with conducting a risk assessment to identify patient characteristics or environmental factors related to suicide risk.”
The story offers a variety of tips and best practices for ED staff to identify symptoms and help patients before it’s too late. Be sure to read this can’t-miss story and the rest of the May issue of ED Management here.