There is no harm in asking depressed patients if they think about suicide. This is good news for primary care physicians that are reluctant to ask for fear of triggering suicidal ideation or prompt a suicide attempt. This is shown in a new study published in the May issue of British Journal of Psychiatry.
Dr Crawford, the lead study author, previously found that physicians don’t like to ask about suicidal thoughts for fear of making patients feel worse. The present study shows that questions about suicidal ideation do not increase the likelihood that participants would start to worry more. And patients who had such thoughts were encouraged to talk about them with healthcare staff.