USPSTF: Evidence Lacking for Primary Care Suicide Screening
Current evidence inadequate to assess balance of benefits and harms of screening for teens, adults
MONDAY, May 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to evaluate the balance of benefits and harms of suicide screening in the primary care setting. These findings are presented in a final recommendation statement published in the May 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Michael L. LeFevre, M.D., M.S.P.H., on behalf of the USPSTF, updated the 2004 recommendation on screening for suicide risk. Researchers from the USPSTF reviewed the literature for the accuracy and reliability of suicide screening instruments; benefits and harms of screening for risk; and benefits and harms of treatments to prevent suicide.
Based on the current evidence, the researchers concluded that the balance of benefits and harms of screening for suicide risk cannot be assessed. The recommendation applies to adolescents, adults, and older adults without psychiatric disorders, in the primary care setting.
"More research is needed to better understand current screening tests, to develop new ones that can better identify people without symptoms who are at risk for suicide, and to create effective treatment programs for those who are identified as high risk," Task Force member Linda Baumann, Ph.D., said in a statement.