A patient at risk of suicide

Suicide is often an ending to a long process and the consequence of a lifelong accumulation of risk factors, an absence of protecting factors and, finally, the presence of precipitating factors. In most cases of suicide (over 90%) the person has a previous history of mental health problems, usually mood disorders or substance abuse . Suicides can be prevented by the assessment of both short-term and long-term suicide risk in those belonging to the risk groups. The possibility of suicidal ideation and behaviour must always be explored in a depressed patient. If the patient harbours suicidal thoughts, establish the degree of suicidal intent (plans, timing). Ensure that the treatment of a suicidal patient is sufficiently protective and do not prescribe large amounts of medicines at any one time.