Primary-care clinicians write more prescriptions for antidepressants and see patients more frequently in the month before the person commits suicide than do mental health clinicians, according to a report in Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2011;86:792-800).
While acknowledging that depression treatment in primary care is improving, investigators contend that opportunities remain in addressing suicide-related treatment variables. “Management of suicide risk includes understanding the difference between risk factors and warning signs, developing a suicide risk assessment, and practically managing suicidal crises,” they wrote.
The researchers offer recommendations for managing suicide risk in primary-care patients, such as identifying and treating alcohol-use disorders and anxiety symptoms, both of which are comorbid conditions in suicidal patients. Collaborative-care models for depression treatment have the potential to improve outcomes for patients and reduce suicide risk.
Separately, Valerie Callanan and colleagues reported online in the journal Sex Roles that firearms are the preferred method of suicide among both men and women, and that those experiencing stressful life events are far more likely to employ an especially lethal method of suicide.