Suicide audits: Going beyond the demographics to find underlying drivers of early death
PHE ePoster Library. Thomson A. Sep 10, 2018; 221173; 215
Mrs. Alison Thomson
Mrs. Alison Thomson
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Abstract
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Abstract Introduction:Suicide audits are a key recommendation of the 2015 All-Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide and Self-harm Prevention. Commonly, suicide audits focus on demographics and mortality to identify risk groups/prevalence, but this often omits key qualitative insight that can also be found in coroners' records. The West Sussex Public Health team examined three years of records to identify previously unconsidered high-risk groups/barriers. By sharing these methods and findings, we hope to encourage other professionals to conduct more in-depth suicide audits of their own.Method:Fixed input, electronic databases were developed to manipulate data into a viable format for analysis. Demographics, circumstances of death, service histories and witness/character testimonies were recorded.Officers were asked to reflect on the evidence available and identify barriers to services or key factors in the individual's death. Results:Stigma; GP misdiagnoses; methods of risk assessment; rigid ('take it or leave it') care plans; concerns of over-medicalisation; disengagement without follow-ups from professionals; lack of communication between services; too little time to develop trusted relationships; a loss of independence in later life or in those with complex conditions; emotional strains of providing care to others, - were all reported as key factors in local suicides and new key risk groups were identified.Ongoing work:A report and presentations were drafted to shine a light on how individuals access support, at what times and what barriers might hinder this. More work is needed to communicate these themes with professional bodies and make mental health a core consideration in all services.
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