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Am Fam Physician. 2023;108(3):311-312

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Clinical Question

In a health care setting, is it possible to identify adolescents and adults who are at risk for suicidal ideation or behavior?

Evidence Summary

Rates of suicide have been increasing in the United States the past decade, especially among Black and Hispanic youths.1 Encounters with the health system are common before suicide, and simple screening tools may help primary care and emergency physicians identify adolescents and adults at increased risk for suicide who need further evaluation.2

The Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale was developed and validated for use by members of the public and clinicians to help identify people at increased risk for suicide.3 It has been well validated in community and emergency department settings but has not been evaluated in the primary care setting. It comprises two initial questions and three to four follow-up questions and is available at

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This guide is one in a series that offers evidence-based tools to assist family physicians in improving their decision-making at the point of care.

This series is coordinated by Mark H. Ebell, MD, MS, deputy editor for evidence-based medicine.

A collection of Point-of-Care Guides published in AFP is available at

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