July 11, 2018 – Now, a study shows that a simple intervention conducted by staff in emergency departments can reduce the risk of future suicide attempts. The intervention involves creating a safety plan for each patient and following up with phone calls after discharge. “It reduced the odds of suicidal behavior by half,” says Barbara Stanley, a psychologist at Columbia University and the lead author of the study. “That’s a phenomenal difference.” The study, which was published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry, included 1,200 patients at five Veterans Affairs hospitals around the country. The findings offer a way for hospitals and clinics to help reduce the rising numbers of death by suicide across the country.