New Research: Several Suicide Risk Factors Commonly Missed in ER Assessments

Sun May 17, 2015

For Information Contact:
Glenn O'Neal, 703-907-8640
Erin Connors, 703-907-8562

TORONTO – Important risk factors for suicide are often missed in emergency room assessments, according to research being presented at the American Psychiatric Association's 168th Annual Meeting. More than 40,000 people in the United States die by suicide each year and suicidal behavior is one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits. A great deal of research has focused on the ability to predict death by suicide. However, despite understanding of a number of identifiable risk factors, completed suicide remains essentially unpredictable with current tools and assessments.

Researchers Taras Reshetukha, M.D., Nazanin Alavi, M.D., and Eric Prost, M.D., from Queen's University in Ontario used a review of patient charts and a survey of psychiatry and emergency physicians to look at suicide risk assessment in the emergency room. They found that many important risk factors for suicide were missed in emergency room assessments. In addition, the study found links between bullying and childhood trauma and thoughts about suicide, which were not commonly looked at during emergency room suicide risk assessments.

Dr. Alavi is a 4th year psychiatry resident at Queen's University. Her areas of interest are emergency psychiatry and psychotherapy.

Dr. Reshetukha is a 4th year psychiatry resident at Queen's University. He has a special interest emergency psychiatry and addiction medicine.

Drs. Alavi and Reshetukha will present their research at the 2015 APA New Research Press Briefing on May 17 from noon to 1:00 PM EDT at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Follow @APAPsychiatric and #APAAM15 to find out the latest Annual Meeting news

The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at


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