Assessing suicidal attempts


  • Precipitating factors e.g. stress, divorce, death
  • Planning of suicide act
  • Method used e.g. overdose, hanging
  • Precaution against discovery e.g. locked doors, driven far away
  • Alone – were they alone or were people nearby?
  • Intoxication e.g. alcohol or other substances
  • Note – was a suicide note left?
  • Help sought afterwards? Who phoned ambulance – patient/relative/friend?
  • Regret about the act?
  • Understanding – what did he understand by the attempt e.g. did he think 20 tablets would end his life?

Other pointers:

  1. Always ask about symptoms of depression/psychosis
  2. Will they be returning home to the same situation?
  3. What are his thoughts about the future?
  4. Any suicide thoughts still ongoing i.e. are they still actively suicidal after an attempt?