Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale

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The Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale, or C-SSRS, is a suicidal ideation rating scale created by researchers at Columbia University to evaluate suicidality in children ages 12 and up.[1] It rates an individual's degree of suicidal ideation on a scale, ranging from "wish to be dead" to "active suicidal ideation with specific plan and intent." Questions are phrased for use in an interview format, but the C-SSRS may be completed as a self-report measure if necessary. The scale identifies behaviors which may be indicative of an individual's intent to commit suicide. An individual exhibiting even a single behavior identified by the scale was 8 to 10 times more likely to commit suicide.[2][3]

Patients are asked about "general non-specific thoughts of wanting to end one’s life/commit suicide" and if they have had "...thoughts of suicide and has thought of at least one method during the assessment period." They are asked if they have "active suicidal thoughts of killing oneself and subject...[and] some intent to act on such thoughts." [4] They are asked how frequently they have these thoughts, how long the thoughts last and whether the thoughts can be controlled. They are asked about deterrent factors, and for the reasons for thinking of suicide. They are asked about "Actual Attempt[s]", which is a "potentially self-injurious act committed with at least some wish to die, as a result of act. "If person pulls trigger while gun is in mouth but gun is broken so no injury results, this is considered an attempt."[4]

The "Lifetime/Recent version allows practitioners to gather lifetime history of suicidality as well as any recent suicidal ideation and/or behavior."[4] The "Since Last Visit version of the scale assesses suicidality since the patient’s last visit."[4] The "Screener version of the C-SSRS is a truncated form of the Full Version" designed for "first responders, in ER settings and crisis call centers, for non-mental health users like teachers or clergy or in situations where frequent monitoring is required." [4] The "Risk Assessment Page provides a checklist for protective and risk factors for suicidality." [4]

The C-SSRS has been found to be reliable and valid in the identification of suicide risk in several research studies.[5][6][7]

Scoring and interpretation[edit]

This measure contains 6 "yes" or "no" questions in which respondents are asked to indicate whether they have experienced several thoughts or feelings relating to suicide over the past month. Each question addresses a different component of the respondent's suicide ideation severity.

  • Question 1: desire to be dead
  • Question 2: suicidal thoughts
  • Questions 3-5: more specific suicidal thoughts and intent
  • Question 6: suicidal behavior over the respondent’s lifetime
  • If the respondent answers "yes" to Question 2, he/she is instructed to answer Questions 3-5. If the respondent answers "no" to Question 2, he/she may skip to Question 6.

Comprehensive scoring information is only available to trained and certified administrators, but an answer of "yes" to any of the six questions may indicate a need for referral to a trained mental health professional.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale". 
  2. ^ "Suicide Checklist Spots People at Highest Risk". USA Today. 9 November 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Columbia–Suicide Severity Rating Scale: Initial Validity and Internal Consistency Findings From Three Multisite Studies With Adolescents and Adults". American Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale". 
  5. ^ Mundt, JC; Greist, JH; Gelenberg, AJ; Katzelnick, DJ; Jefferson, JW; Modell, JG (December 2010). "Feasibility and validation of a computer-automated Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale using interactive voice response technology.". Journal of Psychiatric Research. 44 (16): 1224–8. PMID 20553851. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.04.025. 
  6. ^ Mundt, JC; Greist, JH; Jefferson, JW; Federico, M; Mann, JJ; Posner, K (September 2013). "Prediction of suicidal behavior in clinical research by lifetime suicidal ideation and behavior ascertained by the electronic Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale.". The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 74 (9): 887–93. PMID 24107762. doi:10.4088/jcp.13m08398. 
  7. ^ Posner, K; Brown, GK; Stanley, B; Brent, DA; Yershova, KV; Oquendo, MA; Currier, GW; Melvin, GA; Greenhill, L; Shen, S; Mann, JJ (December 2011). "The Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale: initial validity and internal consistency findings from three multisite studies with adolescents and adults.". The American Journal of Psychiatry. 168 (12): 1266–77. PMC 3893686Freely accessible. PMID 22193671. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.10111704. 

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