Behavioral Sciences & the Law

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Volume 37 Issue 3 (May 2019), Pages 211-328

Suicide Crisis Syndrome: A review of supporting evidence for a new suicide‐specific diagnosis (pages 223-239)

Suicide is a major public health problem, and suicide rates are still on the rise. Current strategies for identifying individuals at risk for suicide, such as the use of a patient's self‐reported suicidal ideation or evidence of past suicide attempts, have not been sufficient in reducing suicide rates. Recently, research groups have been focused on determining the acute mental state preceding a suicide attempt. The development of an acute suicidal diagnosis, the Suicide Crisis Syndrome (SCS), is aimed at capturing this state to better treat individuals. The SCS has five main evidence‐based components—entrapment, affective disturbance, loss of cognitive control, hyperarousal, and social withdrawal. The SCS may provide clinicians with the ability to identify individuals who are experiencing an acute pre‐suicidal mental state, regardless of their self‐reported suicidal ideation. Future research leading to the incorporation of this diagnosis into clinical practice could improve the quality of care and reduce the personal, societal, and legal burden of suicide.

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