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LISTEN: Edwin Boudreaux on screening for suicidal risk in ER patients

By Sarah Willey

UMass Medical School Communications

January 27, 2020

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is a leading cause of death in America, and the second most common manner of death among people ages 10 to 34. In a new Voices of UMassMed podcast, Edwin Boudreaux, PhD, professor of emergency medicine, psychiatry and population & quantitative health sciences, details this stark trend and the importance of implementing suicide screenings.

“The modern, high-paced, stressful society we live in might be contributing to this because you really can’t get away from the stress,” said Dr. Boudreaux. “We carry our stress with us in our pockets in the form of our phones. Our social media has a constant barrage of messages about whether we are good enough or not and comparing ourselves to others.”

Boudreaux explained his extensive research into how doctors and nurses can help to reduce suicide rates by screening patients within a busy emergency room where they see a large number of individuals who may have undetected suicidal thoughts.  

“What we’ve found is actually asking some pretty direct questions to patients will reveal a large proportion of patients who were previously not identified as having suicide risk,” he said.

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