HumanInsight Suicidal behavior in new patients presenting to the Telepsychiatry services in a Tertiary Care center: An exploratory study
Asian J Psychiatr. 2022 May 7;74:103152. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2022.103152. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to expansion of telepsychiatry services and formulation of telemedicine guidelines. However, the telemedicine guidelines are not very clear about psychiatric emergencies, such as suicidal behaviour, resulting in psychiatrists facing dilemma about handling such situations.
AIM: To evaluate the prevalence of suicidal behaviour in new patients presenting to the Telepsychiatry services in a Tertiary Care centre.
METHODS: 1065 new adult patients (aged > 18 years) registered with telepsychiatry services were assessed for suicidal behaviour, in the form of death wishes, suicidal ideations, plans, attempts (lifetime/recent) and non-suicidal self-injurious behaviour (NSSI) (lifetime/recent).
RESULTS: In terms of suicidal behaviour, in the last few weeks prior to assessment 14.4% of the patients had death wishes, 2.4% had thoughts of killing themselves, 0.9% had attempted suicide in the lifetime and 0.6% in the last few weeks, 1.1% had active suicidal ideations at the time of assessment, 0.6% had active suicidal plan, 1.3% had history of NSSI in the lifetime and 0.5% had NSSI behaviour in the last few weeks. Based on the current suicidal behaviour, 1.3% of the patients were asked to report to the emergency immediately, 0.5% were given an appointment within 72 h for follow-up, and 14.4% were explained high risk management.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall prevalence of suicidal behavior is relatively low in new patients seeking psychiatric help through telepsychiatry services.
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