Recent suicides by high-profile celebrities are a reminder that most of us never know what struggles someone is dealing with. While it may be especially surprising when the person is someone the public perceives to “have it all,” a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that suicide is far too common, and becoming more so. There was a 25% increase in suicide between 1999 and 2016 in the United States, with 49 states seeing a “significant increase” over that period. There were 45,000 in 2016 alone. While most urgent care providers may lack formal counseling training, many factors common among suicides have nothing to do with mental illness diagnoses; the CDC lists relationship problems, life stressors, recent or impending crises, physical health problems, and substance abuse among them. Physical health and signs of substance abuse would certainly be most in keeping with the urgent care provider’s expertise, but probing for suicidal ideation, symptoms of clinical depression, and dire life circumstances may uncover serious concerns that highlight a patient’s need for a referral to a crisis hotline or a mental health professional.
Are You Vigilant for Signs Patients May Be Suicidal?