Which thought pattern findings during a mental status review suggest increased suicide risk?

Updated: Jul 26, 2021
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Three types of thought changes represent areas for major focus and concern. The first consists of command hallucinations telling the patient to kill himself or herself. These are usually auditory in nature and often take the form of the deity's voice (eg, "I hear God commanding me to kill myself, because I am bad").

The second type consists of delusions. These include, "The world and my family would be better off with me dead" or "If I take my life, I will be reunited in heaven with my mother."

The third type of thought involves the obsession of a patient wanting to take his or her own life. Some patients focus their lives on their suicide. (See the chart below.)

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors among adults by ag Suicidal thoughts and behaviors among adults by age group, 2008. Courtesy of the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

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