University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


Managing Suicidal Patients in the Emergency Department

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine; Department of Psychiatry; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Emergency Medicine | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Caring for ED patients with suicidal thoughts and behaviors is challenging, given time pressures, boarding of patients waiting for psychiatric beds, and the inherent difficulty in predicting imminent self-harm. However, providers—like patients—should not lose hope: most suicidal crises are short-lived and repeated attempts are not inevitable. Not every ED patient with suicidal thoughts needs inpatient admission or even a mental health consultation, and ED providers should take pride in their skills in caring for this at-risk population.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Ann Emerg Med. 2016 Feb;67(2):276-82. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2015.09.001. Epub 2015 Oct 9. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Annals of emergency medicine

PubMed ID