Bryony Corbyn and Mukesh Kripalani look at research that identifies psychosocial adversity as a major risk factor and suggest a range of interventions to ensure timely referral and support
Identifying and managing emotionally distressed individuals who are at risk of suicide is a responsibility relevant to all healthcare professionals. While some might assume that these individuals are in close contact with mental health services, evidence shows that most of those who go on to complete suicide do not access them in the year before their death.
Recent research suggests that significant psychosocial adversity is a more reliable indicator of suicide risk than the presence of mental illness. Sufferers of psychosocial adversity often fail to meet mental health service thresholds or inclusion criteria for referral to crisis teams, leaving primary care staff under significant and increasing demand to identify their needs and contain the risk that they present. These individuals inadvertently come into contact with primary care and other non-mental health services and this may be their only contact.
This article aims to highlight the need and resources for joint working to support individuals who can potentially go on to commit suicide. A number of interventions are proposed relating to primary care, as well as mental health service provision, to improve the care and support for these vulnerable people.
Primary Health Care. 25, 5, 30-33. doi: 10.7748/phc.25.5.30.eC982Correspondence
This article has been subject to double-blind peer review and checked using antiplagiarism softwareConflict of interest
Received: 16 October 2014
Accepted: 18 November 2014
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