Researchers Need the Most Effective Tool for Assessing Suicide Risk

Whether assessing suicidal ideation and behavior for an academic study or for clinical trials, researchers around the world need a risk assessment tool that’s valid, reliable, and widely accepted. That gives more weight and credence to the work of researchers who are leading the way in finding ways to prevent suicide, and to the results of clinical trials that help pharmaceutical companies ensure the safety of new drugs that can benefit millions of people worldwide.

The Project provides a separate webpage with information specific to the use of the Columbia Protocol in pharmaceutical company-funded research, including licensing requirements.

The Columbia Protocol Is Helping Researchers

The evidence-supported Columbia Protocol, also known as the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), is recommended by the Food and Drug Administration and often referred to as the gold standard for suicide risk assessment. It has been used in countless academic studies and clinical trials around the world. The Columbia Protocol is the ideal risk assessment tool for researchers because it’s:

  • Evidence-supported. An unprecedented amount of research has validated the relevance and effectiveness of the questions used in the Columbia Protocol to assess suicide risk, making it the most evidence-based tool of its kind. Numerous studies support the psychometric properties of the Columbia Protocol, attesting to the protocol’s divergent, predictive, and incremental validity, as well as to its sensitivity to change, internal consistency, and inter-rater reliability.
  • Simple. Ask all the questions in a few moments or minutes — with no mental health training required to ask them.
  • Universal. The Columbia Protocol is suitable for all ages and special populations in different settings and is available in more than 140 country-specific languages. This includes modifications that provide ways of asking the questions of younger children and people with autism, dementia, or other developmental or intellectual disabilities.
  • Effective. Real-world experience and data show that the protocol has helped prevent suicide.
  • Efficient. Use of the protocol redirects resources to where they’re needed most. It reduces unnecessary referrals and interventions by more accurately identifying who needs help — and makes it easier to correctly determine the level of support a person needs, such as patient safety monitoring procedures, counseling, or emergency room care.