Mental Health Clinicians’ Screening and Intervention Practices to Reduce Suicide Risk in Autistic Adolescents and Adults [2020]

Autistic individuals experience elevated risk for suicide ideation, attempts, and deaths. Little is known about how clinicians assess risk or intervene with suicidal autistic individuals. We surveyed 121 clinicians about use of suicide prevention practices with autistic and non-autistic clients. Clinicians reported greater self-efficacy in screening for suicide risk among non-autistic clients (p = 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences in whether they used standardized screening measures or in their reported normative pressure or attitudes towards screening. Clinicians reported similar rates of use of Safety Planning, an evidence-based suicide-prevention strategy, across groups, but greater acceptability for non-autistic clients (p < 0.001). These findings have implications for strategies to increase clinicians’ adoption of these tools for autistic individuals.

Shari Jager-Hyman, Brenna B. Maddox, Samantha R. Crabbe & David S. Mandell
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, volume 50, pages3450–3461(2020)