Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

First Advisor

Joyce P. Miller DNP, RN

Second Advisor

Kristin McHale DNP, RN

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Timmerman APRN, DNP, FNP-C


The Emergency Department has been identified as a critical setting in which to identify people at risk of suicide and provide support. The period following emergency room discharge has been established as being a time of high risk for patients seen for suicidal thoughts and or behaviors. Given the inconsistency of suicidal patient's seen in the ED to follow up with recommended outpatient mental health treatment, brief ED interventions to reduce suicide risk has been found to be especially useful. An innovative and brief intervention, A Safety Plan Intervention (SPI), will be described. The SPI involves a clinician, working collaboratively with a patient to build a documented personalized safety plan that includes identification of warning signs identification and personalized strategies to de-escalate a suicide. The basic steps of a SPI include (a) recognizing the warning signs of a suicidal crisis or thinking about self-harm; (b) using coping strategies that a person already knows; (c) contacting others as a way of distraction from suicidal thoughts; (d) reaching out to family members or friends who may be able to help the person get through the crisis; (e) contacting a suicide helpline, mental health professional or crisis line (f) reducing the availability of lethal means to complete a suicide. Following discharge patients that completed the SPI will receive a follow-up phone call by a clinician who will express concern and care for the patient’s wellbeing and a desire to stay in touch without setting any expectations for patients to provide anything in return.


SC 11.DNP.2021.Samike.V