Assessment and Management of Suicide Risk in Primary Care

Saini, Pooja, While, David, Chantler, Khatidja orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9129-2560, Windfuhr, Kirsten and Kapur, Navneet (2014) Assessment and Management of Suicide Risk in Primary Care. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 1 (-1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 0227-5910

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Risk assessment and management of suicidal patients is emphasized as a key component of care in specialist mental health services, but these issues are relatively unexplored in primary care services.
To examine risk assessment and management in primary and secondary care in a clinical sample of individuals who were in contact with mental health services and died by suicide.
Data collection from clinical proformas, case records, and semi-structured face–to-face interviews with general practitioners.
Primary and secondary care data was available for 198 of the 336 cases (59%). The overall agreement in the rating of risk between services was poor (overall kappa = 0.127; p = 0.10). Depression, care setting (post discharge), suicidal ideation at last contact and a history of self-harm were associated with a rating of higher risk. Suicide prevention policies were available in 25% of primary care practices and 33% of staff received training in suicide risk assessments.
Risk is difficult to predict, but the variation in risk assessment between professional groups may reflect poor communication. Further research is required to understand this. There appears to be a relative lack of suicide risk assessment training in primary care.

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