Date of Award



Suicide is a major health concern in the United States. In a scholarly article, Hutton (2015) found that annually, 2.2 million adults plan suicide, 8.3 million have thoughts of suicide, and 1 million adults attempt suicide. A 2013 Center for Disease Control (CDC) analysis found that suicide rates among persons age 35 to 64 years have increased during the years of 1999-2010 by 28.4%. Bolton, Gunnell, and Turecki (2015) found that suicide is a major international public health problem claiming one life every 40 seconds. The study also states suicide is a second leading cause of death in people age 15-29 years and was responsible for 39 million disability adjusted life years in 2012. At least six close relatives or friends are bereaved by every suicide and family and friends also have an increased risk of depression and suicide. Finally, the study states that for every death from suicide, 30 people attempt suicide; in the United States, this amounts to one million people each year.

Suicide is especially problematic for patients after a psychiatric inpatient admission. In a 36 year observational follow-up study of the Danish population, the cumulative risk of suicide in people who had inpatient or outpatient clinical contact with specialized mental health services was 4% in men and 2% in women. Although this number is small and suicide events are rare, the goal is to prevent all suicidal events. The purpose of this paper explore how new findings about suicidality can improve suicide assessment.