Who's really at risk for suicide? There's no surefire way to know. But new research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry shows that a simple diagnostic "tool" known as the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale can be extremely accurate at spotting suicide-minded people who otherwise might fall through the cracks. And the scale - which includes a set of five simple questions - can be administered in a matter of minutes by anyone trained in its use. Keep clicking to have a look at the tool researchers say all doctors should be using on a routine basis...
1. Have you wished you were dead?
Alternatively, "Have you wished you could go to sleep and not wake up?" The desire to be dead is the first indicator of suicidal ideation.
2. Have you actually had any thoughts of killing yourself?
Thinking about wanting to end one's life is the second marker of suicidal ideation. At this point, a person may not have thought of actual ways to kill oneself or truly planned anything.
3. Have you been thinking about how you might do this?
Someone who answers "yes" has entertained thoughts of suicide and has thought of at least one method. However, this person may not have planned a specific time or place, or have any details worked out. For example, a person might say, "I thought about taking an overdose but I never made a specific plan as to when, where or how I would actually do it...and I would never go through with it."
4. Have you had these thoughts and had some intention of acting on them?
A "yes" means the person has active suicidal thoughts with the intention to act, as opposed to "I have the thoughts but I definitely will not do anything about them."
5. Have you worked out the details of how to kill yourself and do you intend to carry out this plan?
The most worrisome sign of suicidal ideation includes thoughts of killing oneself with the details fully or partially worked out, and any intent to carry the plan out.