Mental health facility suicide prevention
Mental health and suicide are two topics that are closely intertwined.
Not only do more than half of people who die by suicide suffer from depression prior to their attempt, several other mental health issues are considered risk factors for suicidal thoughts or behavior.
This includes anxiety, mood swings or conditions such as being bipolar or schizophrenic.
It is also a misconception among some in the public that people struggling don’t reach out. In addition to talking to friends, family or other trusted individuals, about 20 percent of people who die by suicide do attempt to talk to a therapist or a counselor prior to their attempt. This is why it is important that mental health facilities have suicide prevention plans and procedures in place.
When it comes to in-patient settings, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center says prevention strategies should cover training staff in suicide risk assessment, modifying the physical environment to ensure patient safety, providing increased monitoring during high risk periods, ensuring that patients are followed up with, and then referred to the proper resources when they are released.
For in-patient psychiatric units, ensuring patient safety includes making rooms and other environments as ligature-resistant as possible. This includes everything from the door components to the ceiling — no drop ceilings in patient rooms.
Ways mental health resources can be used reduce the suicide risk of a community or population
- Use telepsychiatry to facilitate access to mental health evaluations in settings or locations where they may not be readily available.
- Promote the integration of primary care and behavioral health care to increase access to behavioral health services in primary care settings.
- Train primary care providers to provide brief suicide prevention interventions, such as counseling on reducing access to lethal means and safety planning.
- Establish referral agreements between providers to ensure that patients have timely access to follow-up care.
- Improve discharge planning procedures to identify and address patient barriers to accessing needed follow-up care.
- Collaborate with key stakeholders to expand the capacity of community-level behavioral health and crisis services to meet the demand for these services and promote care in the least restrictive setting.