Managing post-sexual assault suicide risk
Gilmore, A.K., Ward-Ciesielski, E.F., Smalling, A., Limowski, A.R. Hahn, C.K., & Jaffe, A.E.
Suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior are common after experiencing a sexual assault. Therefore, it is imperative to assess for and manage suicidal ideation using evidence-based techniques after a sexual assault medical forensic examination (SAMFE). We assessed factors associated with higher suicidal ideation identified in a post-SAMFE mental health screening conducted over the phone and strategies to manage suicide risk. We also discuss three case examples and unique considerations when assessing post-SAMFE suicide risk. It was found that among individuals who completed a post-SAMFE screen, individuals who have been previously hospitalized for a mental health problem, who had higher acute stress symptoms, and who were homeless reported more suicidal ideation than those without those histories or symptom presentations. No matter the risk factors for suicidal ideation post-SAMFE, it is essential to screen all individuals post-SAMFE due to their high risk for suicidal ideation and death by suicide.