Jill M. Harkavy-Friedman, PhD, Vice President of Research
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Roughly 40 percent of people who die by suicide were seen in an emergency room in the year prior to their death. Yet less than 50 percent would have received a mental health diagnosis there. Imagine you went to the emergency room for an unexplained fall. Before being directed to a specialist, you would immediately have your vital signs measured: blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, height, and weight. The emergency department staff’s immediate goal would be to make sure you are stable, then recommend appropriate care within the hospital or on an outpatient basis.