Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS)

The first step in effective suicide prevention is to identify everyone who needs help. The C-SSRS was the first scale to address the full range of suicidal thoughts and behaviors that point to heightened risk. That means it identifies risk not only if someone has previously attempted suicide, but also if he or she has considered suicide, prepared for an attempt (for example, buying a gun, collecting pills, or writing a suicide note), or aborted plans for suicide because of a last-minute change of heart or a friend’s intervention.

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The C-SSRS screens for this wide range of risk factors without becoming unwieldy or overwhelming, because it includes the most essential, evidence-supported questions required for a thorough assessment. The C-SSRS is:

  • Simple. Ask all the questions in a few moments or minutes — with no mental health training required to ask them.

  • Efficient. Use of the scale redirects resources to where they’re needed most. It reduces unnecessary referrals and interventions by more accurately identifying who needs help — and it makes it easier to correctly identify the level of support a person needs, such as patient safety monitoring procedures, counseling, or emergency room care.

  • Effective. Real-world experience and data show the scale has helped prevent suicide.

  • Evidence-supported. An unprecedented amount of research has validated the relevance and effectiveness of the questions used in the C-SSRS to assess suicide risk, making it the most evidence-based tool of its kind.

  • Universal. The C-SSRS is suitable for all ages and special populations in different settings and is available in more than 100 country-specific languages.

  • Free. The scale and the training on how to use it are available free of charge for use in community and healthcare settings, as well as in federally funded or nonprofit research. (The Columbia Lighthouse Project)

The following resources are downloadable and also available at The Columbia Lighthouse Project by clicking HERE:

Community Cards: Families, Friends, & Neighbors

Community Cards: First Responders & School Professionals

Community Cards: Research

Screening/Triage Checklists and Guides