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Primary care and suicide prevention (USA)

May 5, 2011

In the U.S., forty-five percent of the 32,000 Americans who commit suicide have visited their primary care provider within one month of their death. Ninety percent of those people had been diagnosed with a mental health or substance abuse disorder, or both.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the only federally funded center of its kind in the nation, and the American Association of Suicidology bring together physicians, social workers, nurses, researchers and government agencies to develop ideas and methods that increase the capacity of primary care practitioners to assess and manage suicide risk. These organizations selected a group of experts who participated in a Call to Action on Suicide Prevention in Primary Care Practice.

The group’s goals were to identify ways for providers to better recognize and respond to patients’ suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and to develop organizational plans that incorporate suicide prevention activities into primary care practices.

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