Examining suicide-related presentations to the emergency department
Ceniti, A.K., Heinecke, N., & McInerney, S.J.
Although the Emergency Department (ED) is a frequent point of contact for individuals with suicide-related behaviour (SRB) or ideation, there is limited literature specifically examining presentations to the ED for SRB. This review examines the international literature published in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia relating to presentations to the ED for SRB, with focus on high-risk groups, screening tools used in the ED, and difficulties in classifying ED presentations of SRB.
The database PubMed was searched using relevant terms, and national health care administrative data were reviewed.
Psychiatric history, substance use, and lower socioeconomic status were all found to be associated with higher rates of ED presentations for SRB. Limited research exists around ED presentations of SRB by particular high-risk groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations and Indigenous peoples. Individuals who present to EDs for SRB are often chronic users of EDs and have a high rate of repeat self-harm and death by suicide.
These findings suggest that EDs could serve as a focal point for suicide treatment interventions. Deepening our understanding of ED presentations for SRB could inform further development and implementation of interventions to reduce death by suicide.