New App Helps Doctors Catch Suicide Risk

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Doctors and other health professionals have a new tool to help fight suicide –- an app that helps them ask the right questions and check the symptoms of someone who might be at risk.

Nearly half of people who die from suicide have seen a health professional of some sort in the month before their deaths and there are ways to find out who might be at risk and help them, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says.

Simple, direct questions such as “Have you thought about killing yourself?”are effective and don’t put ideas into people’s heads, SAMHSA says. And they can help a doctor or nurse direct someone at risk for immediate help.

The app, called Suicide Safe, is available at Google Play and Apple’s App Store. It also gives sample profiles of people at risk of suicide.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults.

IN-DEPTH

--- Maggie Fox

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