We reframe suicide risk assessment from social media as a ranking problem whose goal is maximizing detection of severely at-risk individuals given the time available. Building on measures developed for resource-bounded document retrieval, we introduce a well founded evaluation paradigm, and demonstrate using an expert-annotated test collection that meaningful improvements over plausible cascade model baselines can be achieved using an approach that jointly ranks individuals and their social media posts.
We report on the creation of a dataset for studying assessment of suicide risk via online postings in Reddit. Evaluation of risk-level annotations by experts yields what is, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of reliability in risk assessment by clinicians based on social media postings. We also introduce and demonstrate the value of a new, detailed rubric for assessing suicide risk, compare crowdsourced with expert performance, and present baseline predictive modeling experiments using the new dataset, which will be made available to researchers through the American Association of Suicidology.