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May 30, 2014
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SAD PERSONS scale to indentify suicide risks
Bjorn Burke, Staff Reporter

Identifying candidates likely to commit suicide is not exactly clear-cut.

A person at risk of committing suicide is sometimes seen as one who acted unpredictably in the heat of the moment, or was simply crying for help for a while but no one noticed. Notwithstanding, there are known risk factors which a keen eye can detect.

According to consultant psychiatrist Dr E. Anthony Allen, through the use of the SAD PERSONS scale, a clinical assessment tool used to determine suicide risk, we can help identify such persons, thereby better arming ourselves to lend assistance to those reluctant to give life a second shot.

"There are two types of acronyms that we use. One has to do with the nature of the person and the other has to with the immediate risk of killing oneself. So for example, we know that SAD PERSONS, the acronym, If you look at sex for example, you know that males are at higher risks than females," he said.

"And there are many reasons for this. Males tend not to open up to share their feelings with the macho approach; we tend to hold things in and we feel that it's not manly to open up and share, and to go and get help." Dr Allen explained. "Now you have age. Age; the elderly are susceptible. The thing about being elderly as you recognise, there's retirement. They're retired; they lose the roles of parenting the roles of work. Loneliness and greater chance of chronic diseases. And so these are some of the factors that make them more vulnerable," he added

Dr Allen explained the remaining letters in the acronym, citing a lack of social support, an organised plan (suicide attempt), the absence of a spouse and sickness are also critical warning signs.

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