Low Risk

When people check into the emergency room because they are suicidal, there is a process for assessing how serious of a risk they are to their safety. Part of that assessment is finding out if the patient has a plan to follow through with suicide.

 

Lowest risk- depressed with suicidal thoughts but no plan.

Higher risk- suicidal thoughts and specific plan of action.

Highest risk- suicidal thoughts, a plan of action, and an attempt to commit suicide.

When the nurse or social worker is interviewing a patient to find out about everything going on that’s led to the emergency room visit- they always ask about a plan.

I’ve heard some that sounded bizarre- I tried to swallow a battery…

I once, while sitting with a patient, asked if they were having any suicidal thoughts at the moment. They responded that yes they were, and that I should put up the railing of their bed because they were thinking about rolling off…

Patient is being interviewed and asked if they have a plan- yes, they are planning on starving themselves to death. I’m guessing they weren’t too serious about it, or had just made the decision because they were far overweight and stated that yes, they had eaten breakfast that morning…

Mental health is no joking matter and is an area where I have a lot of empathy for the patient. At the same time- it helps to take advantage of the comedic relief so we don’t become jaded…

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