Can clinician’s risk assessments distinguish those who disclose suicidal ideation from those who attempt suicide?

Joseph Barker (Lead Author), Sophie Oakes-Rogers, Karen Lince, Ashley Roberts, Ronan Keddie, Harley Bruce, Sharmalee Selvarajah, Daisy Fish, Caitlin Aspen, Adrian Leddy

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Participants were 85 individuals who made suicide attempts within two years of their Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) assessment, identified using record linkage. Two comparison groups, non-suicidal controls (n = 1416) and (ideators, n = 743) were compared on variables extracted from the standardized IAPT risk assessment interview. Disclosure of a historical suicide attempt or non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) distinguished those making an attempt from those with suicidal ideation only, but suicidal intent did not. A third of the participants concealed a historical suicide attempt. The IAPT Phobia Scale classified 49.30% of attempters with 100% specificity. The IAPT Phobia Scale may have clinical value in assessing risk but requires validation. Past suicide attempt and NSSI have better clinical risk assessment utility than current suicidal ideation intensity. Risk assessment relying on disclosure is likely to be flawed and risks support being withheld from those assumed to be at lower risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-139
Number of pages11
JournalDeath Studies
Issue number2
Early online date24 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • IAPT
  • Ideation-action
  • risk assessment
  • suicide
  • suicide prevention

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