Interestingly, these valid questions are almost verbatim of a portion of our initial psych assessment:
Quote from nurse lala
How long have you had the thoughts? What triggered them? Do you have a plan? intent? Have you found a means? Do you have something to hurt yourself? Have you already done something to hurt yourself? Have you practiced? What has kept you from acting on your thoughts?
I also ask them, before the initial assessment is completed, if they will commit to safety: Assure me they will do nothing to harm themselves or another. In the hundreds of admissions I've done working at this facility for 12 1/2 years, only one Patient refused to commit to safety. That Patient was put on a 1:1.
I would estimate that 99% of those Patients admitted for being a threat of self harm have no suicidal thoughts once they are on the unit. The ones that do have such thoughts describe them as "fleeting" or "not bad".
Now, I don't mean to make light of most Patients' threat of self harm. Although I've never experienced a suicide on my watch, their safety is my responsibility and I take every precaution with every Patient. And, I regularly remind the Patients that their safety is my responsibility...
Also: Our Staff routinely do an assessment every shift, enquiring of all
psych Patients of their self harm status.