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San Francisco Suicide Prevention 2011-08-03 17:03:00

As reported by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center “Weekly Spark,” a new British study involving family physicians and patients with signs of depression affirmed that asking depressed patients whether they are thinking about suicide did not in fact lead to increased feelings that suicide should be an option. “People who were asked about suicidal thoughts at the first medical interview were no more likely to think about this topic during the following week than those who were asked general questions about health and lifestyle,” said lead study author Mike Crawford of Imperial College, London, United Kingdom. As a result, said Crawford, clinicians should feel comfortable asking people who are depressed if they have thought about suicide, “as long as these questions are asked in a sensitive manner.” Commenting on the study, suicide researcher Yeates Conwell said “It is important for family doctors to know that the best evidence, in this case a randomized trial, shows that asking these questions does not cause problems. Rather, doing so brings to light issues for which we have available interventions and helps us reduce suicide-related morbidity and mortality.”