How we help by screening
In many departments at Children’s Mercy, we use the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ). The ASQ was developed at the National Institute for Mental Health. This is a brief screening to identify those at risk for suicide. It asks about thoughts of death, feeling like a burden and planning and history of suicide attempts. We interview teens without a parent or guardian present because we know they often are willing to be more open when on their own.
If concerns emerge during the screening, a trained social worker will interview both the child and parent or guardian using a more thorough assessment and will help make recommendations. When families bring a child for treatment of a known mental health condition, they may be seen by specialists adept at addressing suicide risk (such as a psychologist or psychiatrist). In these instances, our assessment process is slightly different to better meet the needs of your child.
We never keep secrets when it comes to safety and always notify the parent or guardian of concerns. We help link young people with mental health resources, depending on their level of need. We also follow up after a visit to ensure needs are met. If you have concerns about your child’s safety today, please ask to speak to a social worker.