According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, ten percent of those who complete suicide have been seen in an ED in the two months prior to death. Furthermore, with a growing understanding of alcohol and substance abuse as a risk factor for suicide and over 4 million ED visits annually for alcohol-related conditions, there is a clear need to involve ED staff in screening and intervening with patients at risk, even if the reason for the ED visit seems unrelated. Yet, many EDs are ill-equipped to address mental illness or substance use disorders, so it is not surprising that many ED patients are discharged without an appropriate intervention or referral. At-Risk in the ED can help to efficiently screen patients for suicidality and substance use disorders and manage their care effectively to reduce ED overcrowding, lower rates of hospitalization and readmissions, and achieve The Joint Commission’s goals for suicide prevention.
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