Research. Based on hospital admissions researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have proven that you can predict the likelihood of a someone committing suicide.
With machine-learning algorithms Colin Walsh, a data scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, can predict the likelihood that a patient will attempt suicide. In trials, results have been 80-90% accurate when predicting whether someone will attempt suicide within the next two years, and 92% accurate in predicting whether someone will attempt suicide within the next week.
The prediction is based on US data that’s widely available from all hospital admissions, including age, gender, zip codes, medications, and prior diagnoses. Walsh and his team gathered data on 5,167 patients from Vanderbilt University Medical Center that had been admitted with signs of self-harm or suicidal ideation.
Abstract on the research: Traditional approaches to the prediction of suicide attempts have limited the accuracy and scale of risk detection for these dangerous behaviors. We sought to overcome these limitations by applying machine learning to electronic health records within a large medical database. Participants were 5,167 adult patients with a claim code for self-injury (i.e., ICD-9, E95x); expert review of records determined that 3,250 patients made a suicide attempt (i.e., cases), and 1,917 patients engaged in self-injury that was nonsuicidal, accidental, or nonverifiable (i.e., controls). We developed machine learning algorithms that accurately predicted future suicide attempts (AUC = 0.84, precision = 0.79, recall = 0.95, Brier score = 0.14). Moreover, accuracy improved from 720 days to 7 days before the suicide attempt, and predictor importance shifted across time. These findings represent a step toward accurate and scalable risk detection and provide insight into how suicide attempt risk shifts over time.