Adolescent Suicide Risk Screening in the Pediatric Primary Care Setting
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Adolescent suicide is a major health concern in the United States, with numbers continuing to rise each year. The literature suggests that there may be a lack of screening, detection, and recognition of adolescent suicide risk factors in the primary care setting. Primary care providers have an important responsibility to proactively screen for suicidality in their adolescent patients given that they see most of their patients at least once a year. This evidence-based quality improvement project aimed to address adolescent suicide risk screening in the primary care setting through the implementation of a validated, evidence-based screening tool called the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions questionnaire. The targeted population for this project was adolescents age 11-21 years old seeking care in a rural primary care clinic. The targeted outcomes included increasing the number of adolescents being screened specifically for suicidal ideation at well child checks and episodic visits in addition to improving the number of referrals and follow-up appointments made to mental health professionals. The outcomes were measured through the implementation of the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions questionnaire and postimplementation surveying. Statistical analysis was completed following data collection through Jamovi. Chi-squared analysis comparing pre-implementation data to post-implementation data revealed that the use of a suicide risk screening tool successfully increased the number of adolescents being screened for suicide risk. This project highlights the importance of early detection and recognition of adolescent suicide risk in order to improve follow-up and referral rates.
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