Suicide Safer Care Practices by Setting

Suicide Safer Care Practices by Setting

The New York State Office of Mental Health is launching several Zero Suicide initiatives across the state, utilizing the AIM for Zero approach. While the overarching approach is the same, adaptations have been made to accommodate unique challenges of different treatment settings.

Inpatient Mental Health

Long considered the highest level of care available to suicidal individuals, inpatient psychiatric units face a range of challenges in treating suicidality. Today’s inpatient units remain geared toward stabilization of acute symptoms, primarily with psychotropic medication. Even though as high as 60-80% of admissions may be due to suicide risk, adoption of suicide specific treatments is low.¹ Health systems are faced with bridging this services gap while also improving transition care and engagement. National data suggests that individuals are at highest risk for a suicide attempt the week after discharge from a hospital, even for those admitted for reasons other than suicide risk, and the 3 months after hospitalization remain an extremely high-risk period.² Despite this vulnerability, engagement rates for this population remain alarmingly low. Approximately 50-75% of patients do not attend their post hospitalization therapy appointments.³ Reducing suicide risk among those receiving inpatient psychiatric care calls for a systemic approach.


  1. Sullivan AM, Barron CT, Bezmen J, et al. The safe treatment of the suicidal patient in an adult inpatient setting: A proactive preventive approach. Psychiatry. 2005;76:67–83.
  2. Chung D, Ryan CJ, Hadzi-Pavlovic D, Singh S, Stanton C, Large MM. Suicide rates after discharge from psychiatric facilities: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA psychiatry, 2017;74:7 694-702.Ghanbari B, et. al. Suicide prevention and mental health services: A narrative review. Global Journal of Health Science. 2015;8:5 145-153.

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