A new technology can help determine who is most at risk for suicides and help reduce the risk of suicide attempts.

According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the suicide-screening tool, called the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), pinpoints the threshold at which a person’s suicidal thoughts are severe enough to warrant professional intervention:

“It was developed to meet the need for tracking changes in a person’s suicidal thinking and behavior over time, and to determine who is most at risk. The scale addresses the full range of suicidal behavior and thinking, but includes only the most essential, evidence-based items required for thorough assessment. The scale is now widely used for assessing suicidal thinking and behavior across research and practice in both psychiatric and non-psychiatric settings. It is used domestically and internationally by numerous stakeholders such as first responders (e.g., police, EMTs, fire departments), the U.S. Army, National Guards, prisons, hospitals, schools, and judicial systems to better identify those in need and to direct limited resources.”

C-SSRS was created by a team of researchers from Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh. The researchers found that compared with other technologies, the C-SSRS could reliably predict a potential suicide attempt in those who had previously attempted suicide, as well as clinically meaningful points at which a person may be at risk for an impending suicide attempt. The researchers said the ability to predict this type of information can more directly, quickly and cost-effectively identify who needs the most help and when.

Source: NIMH

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

Follow Counseling Today on Twitter.