A comprehensive and concise assessment of suicide risk

  • Packman W
  • Marlitt R
  • Bongar B
 et al. 
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Because suicide is one of the few fatal consequences of psychiatric illness and is a source of extraordinary stress for loved ones and the clinician, accurate assessment of suicidal risk is an essential aspect of the mental health profession. Innumerable individual differences, along with the low base rate of suicide, make assessment a challenging task in clinical practice that is both delicate and time consuming. In this article, the authors recommend examining and incorporating each patient's personal characteristics, dispositional factors, situational factors, and current presentation of symptoms into a unique individual picture of suicidal risk. This portrait of potential for suicidal behavior can, in turn, be used to evaluate risk and design a course of action. This thorough yet concise approach will likely reduce omissions in assessment, and hopefully lead to fewer false negatives and fewer deaths of suicidal patients.

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  • Wendy L. Packman

  • Rebecca E. Marlitt

  • Bruce Bongar

  • Tracy O Connor Pennuto

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