The monitor component of the AIM model provides guidance for enhanced monitoring for individuals at-risk of suicide. The well documented peak in suicide risk immediately following a psychiatric hospital discharge and low attendance rate of aftercare appointments are two reasons why monitoring after an episode of care is so important.
Structured follow-up phone calls provide crucial linkages and clinical support. Often, they include a brief assessment of suicide risk, review of a safety plan, and problem solving around overcoming barriers to connecting to outpatient care and/or community supports. Click here for a sample structured follow-up script. Caring contacts offer a less intensive form of engagement and monitoring than follow-up calls. They are typically brief communications with patients following hospitalization or a care episode in the form of letters, e-mail messages, or text messages. Studies suggest caring contacts can be a cost-effective way to reduce suicide attempts, particularly for patients unlikely to engage in follow-up care.5,6 Finally, a host of phone or text-based crisis and support services are increasingly available as a source of support for those in distress.