St. Luke’s is conducting a pair of studies that are intended to fill in the gaps of what the scientific community knows about one of the leading causes of death in Idaho - suicide.
The goal is to use the results to determine the most-effective approach to preventing someone from attempting suicide and ensure that people receive appropriate behavioral health treatment.
St. Luke’s is proud to be at the forefront of suicide prevention research, developing innovative and timely studies to contribute to the science of suicide prevention work in Idaho and across the country. Oct. 4-10 is Mental Health Awareness Week.
The Applied Research Division and Behavioral Health Service Line are leading the research. Both studies are funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States. On average, one person dies by suicide every 12 minutes. Idaho’s suicide rate is the sixth-highest in the country, 50% above the national average. Suicide rates have risen by at least 30% in more than half of U.S. states since 1999. Eight of the 10 states with the highest suicide rates in the US are in the Intermountain West.
Research indicates that half of those who complete suicide had sought medical care in the previous month. Health systems have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to do more to help identify suicide risk and prevent suicide among our patients.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted individuals and communities, impacting physical, mental, and emotional health. A CDC Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report published in August indicated that suicide rates have tripled since the start of the pandemic: Nearly 11% of adults surveyed had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days, with significantly higher rates for young adults ages 18-24 (25.5%).
The St. Luke’s studies will attempt to address some gaps in successful suicide prevention methods. These studies will be among the first that have focused on health systems serving patients in both rural and urban settings, and will be the first large scale clinical trials of suicide prevention in the Intermountain West Region.- story contributed by Anton Skeie, MD and Tara Fouts, MHS