J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2022 Aug 18. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2021.0646. Online ahead of print.


Background: Suicide is a public health issue, and there are differences between men and women in terms of suicide ideation, behavior, and completion. Obstetrician/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) are uniquely positioned to assess women’s suicide risk. Methods: A 53-question survey was distributed to the Pregnancy-Related Care Research Network, assessing practice, attitudes, and knowledge regarding suicide risk assessment and management, and personal experience with suicide. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests with paired samples were used to compare the frequency of screening and interventions for different groups of women, and practices of those with and without suicide experience. Significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: Response rate was 31.9%. Respondents were largely White females. OB/GYNs reported more frequently screening for suicide ideation/intent/behavior among pregnant and postpartum patients than nonpregnant/nonpostpartum patients of childbearing age. The most common assessment tool was the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale; half ask about past suicide ideation/behavior or current thoughts/plans. The most common intervention for at-risk patients was a mental health referral; all interventions were reported more frequently for pregnant patients. Common barriers to screening were inadequate mental health services, time constraints, and inadequate training. Most agreed suicide screening is within their purview, and were knowledgeable about the topic, although gaps were identified. Few reported adequate training in suicide risk assessment, and believed continuing education would be beneficial. A majority endorsed experience with suicide and some practice differences emerged. Conclusions: OB/GYNs view suicide risk assessment in their scope. Some knowledge gaps were identified, and respondents believe additional training would be beneficial.

PMID:35984865 | DOI:10.1089/jwh.2021.0646

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