Improving Care to Prevent Suicide among People with Serious Mental Illness: A Workshop

Type: Stand Alone Workshop
Topics: Health Care Workforce, Substance Use and Mental Health, Military and Veterans Health
Boards: Board on Health Care Services, Board on Children, Youth, and Families

Activity Description

Over the past decade, the rate of suicides has continued to rise and is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Some populations are at even higher risk. It is the second leading cause of death for young people between ages 10 to 24, and American Indians/Alaska Natives are 50% more likely to die from suicide than white Americans. A recent analysis by the department of Veterans Affairs (VA) found that the risk for suicide was 22 percent higher among Veterans when compared to U.S. non-Veteran adults, after adjusting for differences in age and sex. Research suggests that nearly 90% of individuals who die by suicide have experienced mental illness such as bipolar disorder, major depression, schizophrenia, and substance use disorders. Thus, interventions that focus on people with serious mental illness could be particularly helpful in addressing the rising rate of suicide in the United States. Access to health care services and delivery of effective interventions for serious mental illness, especially early interventions, will be critical for reducing the incidence of suicide.

An ad hoc committee will plan a two-day public workshop that examines opportunities to prevent suicide among people with serious mental illness. Workshop participants will consider ways to improve and implement early interventions; improve access to care among vulnerable populations with SMI; and effectively target interventions to specific populations with unique needs, such as veterans and tribal communities with limited resources.


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