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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Johns Hopkins: Screening Tool Administered in Pediatric ER Accurately Gauges Suicide Risk

A suicide risk screening tool that Johns Hopkins Medicine implemented in its pediatric emergency department six years ago appears to provide an accurate gauge of which youth are most vulnerable and has identified more than 2,000 patients who might benefit from mental health treatment and resources, according to a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The authors suggest that the findings, published online October 25 in JAMA Network Open, validate what’s since become the standard of care in the Pediatric ER and Pediatric inpatient units at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and neighboring hospitals, and has the potential to save countless lives.

The tool, known as the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ), was implemented in 2013 for youth between ages 8 and 18 presenting to the emergency department with behavioral and psychiatric problems as part of anticipated requirements from The Joint Commission, the body that accredits hospitals and health care programs in the U.S.

Starting in 2017, all other youth between ages 10 and 18 presenting to the emergency department with any medical complaint have also been screened with the ASQ, based on recommendations from emergency department staff.

Dr. Holly C. Wilcox, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s department of mental health and in the School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is the paper’s senior author.

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