Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2022). 43(6), 508-515. SIEC No: 20230461
Background: Concerns regarding the potential iatrogenic effects of suicide assessment have long impeded suicide research. Aims: We sought to examine the effects of an intensive, suicide-focused assessment protocol on mood, suicidality, and urges to harm oneself or others. Method: Participants were adults admitted to a psychiatric inpatient unit for recent suicidal ideation or behavior, or reasons unrelated to suicide. Our study protocol included clinical interviews evaluating suicide history and laboratory tasks with suicide-related stimuli. We modified an existing measure to create a brief, 6-item interview, the Assessment Session Check-In, which was administered before and after research procedures. Results: These indicated overall reductions in distress, suicidal intent, and urges to harm oneself or others from preassessment to postassessment. Postassessment reductions in stress predicted lower likelihood of a suicide attempt at follow-up. Limitations: Although beneficial to examine a high-risk sample, it is possible that an intensive suicide-focused protocol could prove more problematic for those with lower baseline levels of negative affect and suicidal thoughts. Conclusions: Results challenge the belief that assessing suicide elevates distress or suicidality, even among a high-risk sample of adults admitted to a psychiatric inpatient unit.