Patient Opinions About Screening for Suicide Risk in the Adult Medical Inpatient Unit

Deborah J. Snyder, Elizabeth D. Ballard, Ian H. Stanley, Erica Ludi, Julie Kohn-Godbout, Maryland Pao, Lisa M. Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As hospital clinicians and administrators consider implementing suicide risk screening on medical inpatient units, patient reactions to screening can provide essential input. This post hoc analysis examined patient opinions about screening for suicide risk in the medical setting. This analysis includes a subsample of a larger quality improvement project designed to screen medically hospitalized patients for suicide risk. Fifty-three adult medical inpatients at a clinical research hospital provided opinions about suicide risk screening. A qualitative analysis of responses to an opinion question about screening was conducted to identify major themes. Forty-three (81%) patients supported screening medical inpatients for suicide risk. Common themes emphasized asking patients directly about suicide, connection between mental/physical health, and the role of screening in suicide prevention. Adult medical inpatients supported screening for suicide risk on medical/surgical inpatient units. Behavioral health clinicians are uniquely poised to champion suicide detection and intervention in the general medical hospital setting. Patient opinions can be utilized to inform thoughtful implementation of universal suicide risk screening in the medical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-372
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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