MCES Leads Discussion On Preventing Post-Discharge Suicides

Friday, September 7, 2018

A major suicide prevention concern at MCES and other psychiatric hospitals is the risk of suicide among patients after discharge.

Studies have found the suicide rate to be high for the first thirty days after discharge and particularly for the first two weeks. Cases where patients have taken their lives within days of discharge are not uncommon.

Factors contributing to this risk include the impact of life stressors that may face patients on return to the community, recurrence of psychiatric or substance use related symptoms, inability to access outpatient providers, and not following aftercare treatment plans.

Some patients may find less support when they return home than they received in the hospital where support and oversight are available 24/7.

MCES staff discussed these issues at three full morning continuing education programs for 120 licensed social workers and counselors and other behavioral health professionals this month. The presentations highlighted the importance of pre-discharge suicide risk assessments, identifying support resources for patients, instructing families on ongoing suicide risk and how to access crisis intervention services if need.