Update to VA/DoD Suicide Assessment and Management Guidelines
September 18, 2019   

Suicide risk among both active and veteran US military members is an increasing concern and is elevated compared to the general population. In fact, approximately 20 US veterans die by suicide every day -most often through the use of firearms. In order to take action against these alarming statistics, an Evidence-Based Practice Workgroup consisting of members of the US Veteran's Administration (VA) and US Department of Defense (DoD) and including primary care physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, social workers, and nurses has recently released a set of guidelines aimed at reducing the incidence of suicide and providing quality care to individuals found to be at increased risk. Based on extensive review of the existing literature, the Workgroup developed several algorithms -one for identifying suicide risk; another for evaluating whether the risk for suicide is low, intermediate, or high; and a third for implementing management strategies based on suicide risk level. Additionally, the authors provide a list of recommendations for assessing suicide risk and managing individuals with increased suicidality (Table).

Given that suicide among active military members and veterans has increased tremendously over the past 10+ years, it is critical that we develop strategies to prevent such tragic deaths. This research and the accompanying guidelines are a step in the right direction.


D'Anci KE et al. Ann Intern Med 2019; Epub ahead of print. Abstract

Sall J et al. Ann Intern Med 2019; Epub ahead of print. Abstract

For more information:

Stay With Me: An Update On Suicide Prevention
CME credit: 0.75

Veterans Administration Releases Suicide Report
When Heroes Fall: Combating PTSD and Veteran Suicide
CME credit: 0.75

New Guidance on Implementing Universal Suicide Risk Screening in Medical Settings