Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2021), 51(2), 255-262. SIEC No: 20230071

As suicide risk screening becomes more common in healthcare settings, geospatial coding of behavioral health data may offer a means for identifying areas of elevated suicide risk for use in public health prevention efforts. The present study demonstrates an analytic approach for using universal suicide risk screening data to identify areas of elevated suicide risk.
Data were drawn from standard suicide risk screens recorded in electronic health records of a large pediatric emergency department. A total of 12,400 suicide risk screening responses were recorded, among youth aged 11–19 years (mean = 14.60, SD = 2.16; 57.2% girls, 47.8% Hispanic/Latinx, 72.1% White). A total of 86 unique ZIP codes had at least 50 completed screens, representing 9139 respondents.
Rates of positive screens ranged from 6.17% to 31.03% (mean = 18.33, SD = 5.14) for any suicide-related behavior and from 0.0% to 19.61% (mean = 9.14, SD = 3.43) for suicide attempt. Rates of positive screens approximated a normal distribution.
Results demonstrated several areas with elevated rates of positive suicide risk screens, within the hospital catchment area. The proposed method capitalizes on large-scale screening data, provides an estimate of areas of relative increased risk, and may be used to inform public health responses to suicide prevention.