Suicide Screening & Assessment
There is no evidence that screening for suicide leads to an increase in suicidal ideation. Instead, findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce suicidal ideation and may lead to improvements in mental health.
For individuals that are considered “high-risk,” consider calling the individual to complete a suicide screening.
If an individual is identified as having active thoughts of suicide with a plan and/or intent, keep them on the line, gather information, contain, and confine the individual as much as possible. Next, seek immediate help per your internal institutional policies. This may include (1) Calling a therapist or psychiatrist/physician or other, healthcare professional who has been working with the person, (2) Removing potential means such as weapons and medications to reduce risk, or (3) Calling the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911.
For those that have passive suicidal ideation with no plan or intent, considering completing a safety plan (see below) with the patient. Discuss treatment referral options with the individual and consider initiating pharmacotherapy—if not already started.
Video: Suicide Risk & Warning Signs
Interactive PDF: Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale >
Description: The Columbia Protocol, also known as the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), supports suicide risk assessment through a series of simple, plain-language. The answers help identify whether someone is at risk for suicide, assess the severity and immediacy of that risk, and gauge the level of support that the person needs. You can review this training video or this demonstration video for more information.
Instructions: (1) Fill in the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale on your web browser, (2) Click the print icon or right-click and select print, (3) Instead of your usual printer, select “Save as PDF,” (4) Save to a destination on your computer with the title “C-SSRS [NAME]”, (5) Upload the document to your EHR.
Description: CAMS Framework™ is first and foremost a clinical philosophy of care. It is a therapeutic and evidence-based framework for suicide-specific assessment and treatment of a patient’s suicidal risk. It is a flexible approach that can be used across theoretical orientations and disciplines for a wide range of suicidal patients across treatment settings and different treatment modalities.
Interactive PDF: ASQ >
Description: The Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) screening tool was developed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to quickly screen for suicide and provide “next steps” for providers.
Instructions: (1) Fill in the ASQ on your web browser, (2) Click the print icon or right-click and select print, (3) Instead of your usual printer, select “Save as PDF,” (4) Save to a destination on your computer with the title “ASQ [NAME]”, (5) Upload the document to your EHR.
Interactive PDF: Safety Plan Template >
Description: This is a quick guide that clinicians may use to develop a safety plan with individuals under their care. A safety plan includes a prioritized written list of coping strategies and sources of support for individuals with depression or that are otherwise at-risk for suicide. We suggest completing activity with the individual and uploading their unique safety plan to their NeuroFlow profile. This will ensure they have access to it 24/7.
Instructions: (1) Fill in the unique safety plan on your web browser, (2) Click the print icon or right-click and select print, (3) Instead of your usual printer, select “Save as PDF,” (4) Save to a destination on your computer with the title “Safety Plan for [NAME]”, (5) Assign a “custom assignment” to the individual on NeuroFlow and upload the saved PDF.
Crisis Resources & Hotlines
Website: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Description: This is a confidential, toll-free, 24-hour suicide prevention hotline. Call 1-800-273-TALK to receive support and local referrals.
Description: The Veterans Crisis Line provides confidential help for Veterans, Service Members, and their families.
Website (and online chat): Veteran Crisis Line >
Phone: 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
Website: National Domestic Violence Hotline
Description: The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 counseling and support to victims of domestic violence and abuse at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). You can also chat online at the website above.
Website: The Trevor Project
Description: The Trevor Project’s trained counselors are here to support 24/7. If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the TrevorLifeline now at 1-866-488-7386. Text and online chat is available on the website above.
Website: SAMHSA National Helpline
Description: This treatment referral and information service is confidential, free, and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in English and Spanish for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
Provider Education Materials
Description: This document provides information on commonly prescribed psychotropic medications, including starting/maintenance doses and other clinically relevant information.
Mental Health Organizations
Description: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is charged with improving the quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and the cost to society resulting from substance use disorders and mental illnesses.
Description: The National Association of Mental Illness is the largest nationwide mental health advocacy grassroots organization with hundreds of state organizations, affiliates and volunteers. It is a hub for support groups, free education, raising awareness and building community.
Description: The website of the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) provides complementary information to its print edition about the classification, assessment, symptoms and treatment of mental disorders.
Website: Mental Health America
Description: Mental Health America’s (MHA’s) programs and initiatives fulfill its mission of promoting mental health and preventing mental illness through advocacy, education, research and services. MHA’s national office and its 200+ affiliates and associates around the country work every day to protect the rights and dignity of individuals with lived experience and ensure that peers and their voices are integrated into all areas of the organization.
Description: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) raises awareness, funds scientific research and provides resources and aid to those affected by suicide.