SAMHSA Creates Suicide Prevention App

An April 1 blog post by the agency's administrator, Pamela Hyde, featured it. The free app based on SAMHSA's Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage (SAFE-T) card.

SAMHSA has released a new, free app named Suicide Safe, hoping it will help to prevent suicides. The app is based on SAMHSA's Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage (SAFE-T) card, Administrator Pamela Hyde explained in an April 1 blog post.

During 2013, more than 41,000 Americans committed suicide, she wrote, adding, "That means more Americans died by suicide than from homicide, HIV/AIDS, or traffic accidents. Consider too, that almost half (45 percent) of individuals who die by suicide visited a primary care provider in the month prior to their death, and 20 percent had contact with mental health services. One out of every 10 people received services in an emergency department in the two months prior to his or her death."

"For too long, opportunities to assess risk or to refer a patient to treatment have been missed simply because suicidal thoughts or behavioral change was not discussed or observed. We need to address suicide right now—we need providers and patients to start having important conversations today, and now, SAMHSA’s Suicide Safe app can help," she wrote.

The SAFE-T card can Suicide Safe is a potentially help providers assist patients with suicidal ideation or behaviors. It offers tips for communicating effectively with those patients and their families, determining appropriate next steps, and making referrals to treatment and community resources.

"A death by suicide occurs almost every 13 minutes in the United States," Hyde wrote. "Its ripple effect is profound and its reach is wide. With so many Americans affected and impacted by behavioral health issues, especially those touched by suicide, our goals must be shared; our burdens shouldered together; and our accomplishments collectively celebrated. Suicide Safe, SAMHSA's new suicide prevention app for mobile devices and optimized for tablets, helps providers integrate suicide prevention strategies into their practice and address suicide risk among their patients."

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