Year: 2021 Source: General Hospital Psychiatry. (2021). Published online 26 March 2021. SIEC No: 20210307

This study gathered data from rural adult primary care patients regarding the acceptability of universal suicide risk screening and preferred methods of implementation.
Patients from a rural primary care clinic in southern West Virginia participating in a pilot test of a suicide risk screening program were administered a Screening Opinions Survey and resulting data were evaluated using descriptive and content analyses.
The majority of participants (96%) believed that primary care providers (PCPs) should screen patients for suicide and noted multiple benefits to screening. Most participants described the experience of screening in primary care as positive or neutral and preferred a personalized screening process where the provider asked questions directly. Demographic analyses indicated that males and older adults were less likely to report being previously screened for suicide and that older adults were less likely to support the practice of screening.
Results provide support for the acceptability of universal suicide risk screening programs to patients in rural primary care and suggest that PCP involvement in the screening process may encourage patient participation. Additional training for PCPs and psychoeducational interventions for older adults may help to address demographic influences on screening practices and engagement.