Emergency Department Screening for Suicide and Mental Health Risk

Kalina Babeva, Jennifer L. Hughes, Joan Asarnow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10–24. An estimated 1.5 million US adolescents receive their primary health care in the emergency department (ED); this is particularly true for low-income and minority youths who often lack a regular source of care. ED visits can provide a window of opportunity to screen and identify youths with suicide and mental health risk, triage youths based on need, and facilitate effective follow-up care. Recently developed brief therapeutic assessment approaches have demonstrated success in improving rates of follow-up care after discharge from the ED. Furthermore, there is some data supporting clinical benefits when youths receive evidence-based outpatient follow-up care. ED screening combined with effective follow-up, therefore, may provide one strategy for improving mental health and reducing health disparities in our nation. This paper reviews the context in which ED screenings occur, available tools and strategies, and evidence for the effectiveness of tested approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Assessment
  • Child and adolescent
  • Emergency department
  • Mental health risk
  • Suicide risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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