In response to the findings of the Lynch et al. study on the association of suicide mortality and substance use disorder, this commentary addresses the need for increased suicide assessment and screening for patients who identify with substance use disorders in health settings such as primary care practices and emergency departments. Lynch et al. found that all categories of substance use disorders were associated with increased risk of suicide. We present the Suicide Safer Care project as one model to address this need. The Suicide Safer Care project contains a training model that provides education on basic principles of suicide prevention and skills for integration into practice. Data collected from pre- and post-training surveys of participants demonstrates the success of the training in increasing knowledge and confidence in identification and treatment of patients at risk of suicide. Utilizing training techniques such as Suicide Safer Care and combining it with the findings from Lynch et al. providers in primary care settings and emergency departments can optimize the number of patients they identify with suicide risk, impacting the number of patients who receive treatment and the number of potential lives saved.
Little, V., Little, V., James, M. C., & James, M. C. (2020, June 29). Commentary on substance use disorders and risk of suicide in a general US population: A case control study by Lynch et al. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13722-020-00195-6