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Suicide Risk Screening and Assessment

Designing Instruments with Dissemination in Mind
      This paper summarizes recommendations made regarding the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Research Prioritization Task Force’s Aspirational Goal 2, to “determine the degree of suicide risk (e.g., imminent, near-term, long-term) among individuals in diverse populations and in diverse settings through feasible and effective screening and assessment approaches.” We recommend that researchers shift to using “design for dissemination” principles to maximize both the goodness of fit and validity of screening and assessment measures for a given setting. Three specific recommendations to guide research efforts are made to achieve this shift: (1) the parameters related to each setting, including the logistics, scope of practice, infrastructure, and decision making required, should be identified and used to choose or design screening and assessment instruments that have a good fit; (2) to the greatest feasible extent, technology should be used to support screening and assessment; and (3) researchers should study the best methods for translating validated instruments into routine clinical practice. We discuss the potential barriers to implementing these recommendations and illustrate the paradigm shift within the emergency department setting.
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