Assessing and managing suicidal patients in the emergency department

  • Christopher James Ryan, Matthew Large, Robert Gribble, Matthew Macfarlane, Ralf Ilchef, Tad Tietze
  • Australasian Psychiatry, July 2015, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1039856215597536

What is it about?

Psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals are often asked to see people in the hospital emergency department after they have attempted suicide or if they are feeling suicidal. In these cases professionals need to focus on the person's story, try to identify their individual needs and then work with the patient and their family to set out an individualised plan. They should not try to work how likely it might be that the person will eventually suicide.

Why is it important?

This paper, written by six psychiatrists who assess suicidal people everyday, offers a practical guide to assist professionals in this important task.


Dr Christopher James Ryan
University of Sydney

One of the things I really like about this paper is that it took the six of us hardly any time to write. Although we had all been trained in different locations we quickly learned we were all doing basically the same thing. No surprises really, because the basis of our suggested approach is that healthcare professionals spend time trying to understand their patients' predicaments and then work with them and their families to find a way forward.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Christopher James Ryan