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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – The Best Ways To Prevent #Suicide

When knowledge is the power of prevention

#Suicideprevention is always a priority, especially during times of economic decline, illness, and uncertainty.  But what are some of the best strategies for success?  If you know someone whom you suspect is harboring thoughts of ending their life, what do you say? If you want to send a message within your community, what are some of the best methods of #suicideprevention public messaging? Research has some answers.

Donna Littlewood et al. (2019) examined the issue of #suicideprevention in a qualitative study involving a review of quality practices as described by clinicians.[i] They extracted data from the National Confidential Inquiry into #Suicide and Safety in #MentalHealth (NCISH) database, which examined suicides among people receiving #mentalhealthservices. 

They found five themes which illustrated positive practices, helping to: 

  1. promote safer environments, 
  2. develop stronger relationships with patients and families, 
  3. provide timely access to tailored and appropriate care, 
  4. facilitate seamless transitions, and 
  5. establish a sufficiently skilled, resourced, and supported staff team.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Littlewood et al. noted, however, the importance of context as a distinguishing feature, explaining that failure to deliver adequate care can be seriously harmful to patients. As an example, they note that failure to develop strong relationships with those providing care, or failure to facilitate timely access to care appropriate for the situation are linked with disastrous results, such as #suicide.

In addition to discussing the best practices, Littlewood et al. recognized that their study also demonstrated the value of allowing clinicians to share their experience, which can enhance quality improvements within the field of #mentalhealthcare.

Intervention Efforts 

Stephen Platt and Thomas Niederkrotenthaler (2020) reviewed best practices in #suicideprevention programs.[ii] They examined and analyzed the effectiveness of 13 different types of interventions that have become part of national #suicideprevention programs. They found strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of what they describe as structural interventions, such as restrictions on access to railways, tall buildings, and bridges, as well as restrictions on accessing pharmacological agents. 

But they found only weakly supportive evidence of the effectiveness of a wide variety of other types of programs and interventions, including everything from training and education of primary care physicians, to firearm access restrictions, to settings-based programs in workplaces, schools, and communities.  article continues after advertisement

Platt and Niederkrotenthaler conclude that major improvements are needed in bridging the knowledge gap about methods of effectively intervening to prevent #suicide. They describe this gap as surprising, but also disturbing. As an example, they observe the dearth of evaluation studies examining how substance misuse programs impact suicidal behavior, noting the importance and prevalence of alcohol and other substances abused by individuals who also exhibit suicidal behavior. 

Public Awareness Campaigns

Joie Acosta et al. (2017) examined some of the best types of public messaging strategies for preventing #suicide, specifically evaluating California’s ‘Know the Signs’ Media Campaign.”[iii] They developed a checklist of “best practices for #suicideprevention communication campaigns,” and then used the checklist to evaluate California’s Know the Signs (KTS-M) #suicideprevention mass media campaign. KTS-M endeavored to educate others about the red flags of #suicide, and how to talk with at-risk individuals at risk in order to educate them about resources that are available. 

Their results showed that the KTS-M campaign was among the best that they had evaluated. Core campaign messages include: Pain isn’t obvious; #Suicide is preventable; Know the warning signs of #suicide; Find the words to talk to someone you are concerned may be at risk; and You are not alone in helping that person—there are resources available.

Best Practices for Best Results

We are working as a society to find the best ways to identify risk factors, treat relevant symptomology, and ultimately prevent #suicide. By sharing information among community members, clinicians, and families touched by the heartbreak of losing a loved one through #suicide, we can continue to strive to reach out to those at risk to prevent loss of life. 

Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

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