USPSTF Can’t Recommend Suicide Screening Due to Lack of Evidence
According to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), there just isn’t enough proof to justify having teens and adults regularly screened for suicide risks. The task force posted its recommendation statement after it examined information from various research conducted on the subject and determined that there just isn’t enough information for the task force to recommend that everyone be screened.
However, while the USPSTF panel isn’t recommending the screening, it did state that there also wasn’t enough information NOT to recommend the screening. The purpose of this statement by the USPSTF was to address the concerns of those who currently do not have a mental health disorder. The panel does note, though, that it is critical to be able to help prevent suicide attempts and the suffering that accompanies it.
In defense of the panel’s decision, task force member Dr. David Grossman said, "Unfortunately, at this time we don't know if asking everyone who visits their doctor or nurse about their risk factors for suicide leads to fewer suicides and suicide attempts."
More studies need to be done in order to provide the right type of evidence to support the screening and provide better assistance to those people at risk, he added.
"The task force calls on the research community to prioritize studies to develop screening tools that can better identify people without symptoms who are at risk for suicide and to create effective support and treatment programs for people with risk factors for suicide," Grossman added. "We know that many people who attempt suicide have visited a health care professional within a month before their attempt. This means that we have a real opportunity to help if we find better tools."
Antidepressants like Paxil and Effexor are generally used to treat the major depression and anxiety that can often be the underlying cause of a person’s suicidal tendencies. However, both Paxil and Effexor have proven to be more dangerous than the condition for most people. Paxil and Effexor are also known to cause serious side effects, which can include violent and suicidal thoughts and behaviors as well as birth defects in babies whose mothers take the drug while pregnant. Some of those defects include PPHN, spina bifida, neural tube defects and oral clefts.