Collaboration between Ohio State’s medical center and university to prevent suicide crosses a variety of sectors to tackle the problem in novel ways:

  • Intensive outpatient programs for young adults at risk for suicide. Two different treatment tracks for young adults, ages 18 to 24, offer specialized programming for those who do not require inpatient hospitalization but are struggling to cope with their symptoms through outpatient therapy alone.    

  • Universal emergency department (ED) screening for suicidal thoughts. Everyone who seeks treatment at one of Ohio State’s two emergency departments receives an evidence-based, three-item screening to detect suicidal thoughts. Those who screen positive receive further evaluation before leaving the ED. Individuals who have suicidal thoughts but who are not deemed at risk for suicide, participate in creating a safety plan with staff as part of their discharge instructions.  

  • Safe physical environment on inpatient units. Consultants have helped Ohio State’s psychiatric hospital, Harding Hospital, to further minimize risk of patient self-harm, including removing ligature risks, on inpatient units designated for psychiatric patients.    

  • Suicide task force. An Ohio State Suicide and Mental Health Task Force has met extensively to review current resources and develop recommendations for suicide prevention. An implementation task force is putting best practices into action.    

  • Psychiatric research. Ohio State is working closely with researchers in suicide prevention from nearby Nationwide Children’s Hospital and actively recruiting psychiatrist researchers.    

  • An 18-bed intensive psychiatric inpatient unit expansion. This new unit will open in spring 2019 at Harding Hospital to treat severe mental illness, including suicide ideation. “Ultimately, we want to create a psychiatric center of excellence whose pillars are aimed at treating psychosis and neurocognitive disorders, disorders of mood and emotion, addictions and disorders associated with trauma,” says Eileen Ryan, DO, professor and interim chair of Ohio State’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health.

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