Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and identifying those at risk can be challenging. According to a new study, certain words in hospital discharge notes may be one way to identify patients who are at an increased risk of suicide.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital examined more than 450,000 patients’ discharge notes from 2005 to 2013. They analyzed these notes by using a sentiment analysis computer program which searches for positive or negative words. The researchers found that certain words like gloomy, unfortunate, and sad can predict a higher risk for suicide, as opposed to words like lovely, delightful or pleasant.
In general, there is an elevated risk for suicide after hospital discharge so this is a moment for increased intervention.