Depression | Ask Suicide-Screening Questions to Everyone in Medical Settings (asQ em): Development of a Suicide Risk Screening Instrument for Adult Medical Inpatients

Depression research study

What is the primary objective of this study?

Background: - Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for U.S. adults. Medically ill people are at an increased risk of suicide. Most people who have killed themselves went to a healthcare provider within 3 months of their death. More and more, hospitals are being asked to assess people for signs of suicide risk so that they can get the help they need. If nurses and doctors can find out who is at risk they can make sure these people get help in the hospital. The asQ em (Ask Suicide-Screening Questions to Everyone in Medical Settings) is a brief questionnaire. It was created to detect suicidal thoughts and behaviors in hospitalized people. Researchers would like to further develop this tool and figure out which are the best questions to ask patients. Objective: - To determine the best questions for healthcare providers to ask people with medical illnesses to see if they are having suicidal thoughts or planning to hurt themselves. Eligibility: - NIH Clinical Center patients over age 18. Design: - Participants will be asked questions about how they have been feeling in the past few weeks. They will be asked questions about depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. They also will be asked some background questions. - It will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes to answer the questions.

Who is eligible to participate?

- INCLUSION CRITERIA: All adult medical inpatients, ages 18 and older, who are admitted to selected medical units during data collection weeks will be approached for enrollment. Patients will be included if: 1. they are admitted as an inpatient on the designated medical units; 2. they are 18 and older; 3. they are capable of providing consent; 5) they have not previously been enrolled in this study. EXCLUSION CRITERIA: Patients will be excluded if: 1. they are medically or cognitively unable to participate in the screening or assessment (e.g., sustained altered level of consciousness, psychosis, hostile behavior, unremitting distress, intubation, persistent vomiting, severe pain, acute or worsening medical acuity); 2. they have been already enrolled during a previous visit; 3. they are unwilling to provide consent; 4. the patient is non-English speaking (because ASIQ has not been validated in languages other than English).

Which medical condition, disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury is researched?



Chronic Illness

Study Interventions

Interventions can include giving participants drugs, medical devices, procedures, vaccines, and other products that are either investigational or already available or noninvasive approaches such as surveys, education, and interviews.

Study Arms

Research studies and clinical trials typically have two or more research arms. An arm is a group of people who receive the same treatment in the study.

Study Status


Start Date: June 1, 2014

Completed Date: December 31, 2025


Type: Observational


Primary Outcome: Frequencies of positive responses to all asQem candidate items and ASIQ/BSI items.

Secondary Outcome:

Study sponsors, principal investigator, and references

Principal Investigator: Lisa M Horowitz, Ph.D.

Lead Sponsor: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


More information:

Luoma JB, Martin CE, Pearson JL. Contact with mental health and primary care providers before suicide: a review of the evidence. Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Jun;159(6):909-16. Review.

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