NEWTON, MA and WASHINGTON, D.C. | April 4, 2011
A new comprehensive report entitled Continuity of Care for Suicide Prevention and Research offers recommendations for the ongoing care of patients at risk for suicide who have been treated in emergency departments and hospitals. Based on an encyclopedic review and analysis of existing research, the 150-page report was a collaboration between the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), two leading national organizations devoted to suicide prevention, and was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The peer-reviewed report, authored by David Knesper, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, is the first comprehensive review of continuity of care as a means to prevent suicide. This one-of-a-kind report examines the existing evidence base and makes recommendations about how to improve suicide prevention efforts in emergency departments and hospitals.
“Patients at risk for suicide are commonly seen in emergency departments of America’s hospitals, but frequently are discharged into a fragmented mental health care system,” said Alan Berman, executive director of AAS. “Most suicidal patients are referred to outpatient care, but as many as half of them may not show up to their first appointment.”
The report includes 10 principles for improved continuity of care and provides real-world examples of seven integrated systems of care in the United States and Europe. Other key recommendations for practice and research address targeting high-risk individuals, improving education and training for suicide risk assessment, responding to patients who have become disengaged from treatment, coordinating care, and improving infrastructure to provide continuity of care.
“The challenges of coordinating mental health care among different service providers are complex and daunting,” said Jerry Reed, director of SPRC at Education Development Center, Inc. “Our hope is that this report will clarify the most critical gaps in knowledge and practice and motivate changes to fill those gaps and to ultimately save lives.” To download the report, visit either organization: www.sprc.org or www.suicidology.org
The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is a membership organization for all those involved in suicide prevention and intervention, or touched by suicide. AAS leads the advancement of scientific and programmatic efforts in suicide prevention through research, education, and training; the development of standards and resources; and survivor support services. Founded in 1968, AAS serves as a home base for networking all members of the suicidology community.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) is a project of Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), a global nonprofit research and development organization committed to addressing urgent challenges in education and health. SPRC provides support, training, and resources to assist organizations to develop suicide prevention programs, interventions, and policies, and to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.