Rates of Positive Suicide Screens in the Emergency Department and Outpatient Clinics at a Tertiary Care Children's Hospital

J Adolesc Health. 2023 Apr;72(4):629-632. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2022.11.245. Epub 2023 Jan 14.


Purpose: To provide guidance to hospitals that are developing suicide screening programs, we identified rates of positive screens across outpatient visits within a tertiary care children's hospital.

Methods: Suicide screening results from healthcare encounters occurring between February 2019 and January 2020 were estimated for ambulatory clinics (OP), urgent care (UC) clinics, and the emergency department (ED).

Results: Positive screens (95% confidence interval [CI]) occurred in 10.8% (10.6, 11.0)%) of visits overall. Rates of positive screens were 14.5 (14.1, 14.9)%, 9.9 (9.7, 10.1)%, and 9.3 (8.9, 9.7)% in the ED, OP, and UC, respectively. Rates of positive screens in outpatient clinics were highest in child abuse (33.4 (28.0, 39.2) %) and adolescent specialty (19.2 (17.3, 21.1) %).

Discussion: Some outpatient clinics had rates of positive suicide screens that surpass those seen in the ED. These findings could inform targeted suicide screening in hospital systems with limited resources to do universal screening.

Keywords: Adolescents; HIV; Qualitative Research; implementation science; young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Suicide*
  • Tertiary Healthcare