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Suicide prevention: A study of patients' views

  • John M. Eagles (a1), Dawn P. Carson (a2), Annabel Begg (a3) and Simon A. Naji (a4)
Abstract
Background

Suicide prevention strategies are usually formulated without seeking the views of people with psychiatric illnesses.

Aims

To establish what helped patients with severe psychiatric illness when they felt suicidal.

Method

A semi-structured interview was constructed following transcribed interviews with 12 patients. This was administered to 59 out-patients with serious and enduring mental illness, focusing on factors they found helpful or unhelpful when at their most despairing.

Results

Three-quarters of patients were in contact with psychiatric services when feeling at their lowest, and this contact was generally deemed to be helpful. Social networks were considered just as helpful as psychiatric services by the half of patients who discussed their feelings with friends or relatives. Religious beliefs and affiliations were helpful. Negative influences included the media and the stigma of psychiatric illness.

Conclusions

Efforts at suicide prevention might usefully focus on enhancing patients' social networks, increasing the likelihood of early contact with psychiatric services and decreasing the stigma attached to psychiatric illness. Larger studies of patients exposed to different service models would be informative.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr John M. Eagles, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Cornhill Road, Aberdeen AB25 2ZH, UK
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Suicide prevention: A study of patients' views

  • John M. Eagles (a1), Dawn P. Carson (a2), Annabel Begg (a3) and Simon A. Naji (a4)
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