Suicide Prevention : The development of an evidence based intervention as a response to self-harm

Professor Lynette Joubert1

1 Melbourne School of Health Sciences, University of Melbourne

Suicide prevention has focused on self-harm and suicide attempts.

This presentation will look at the issue of suicide by focusing on individuals who have attempted suicide, have a history of self-harm behaviour and who come in contact with emergency departments or public mental health services. It will report on how people in a state of crisis see themselves and analyse the precipitating issues that brought them to emergency .

In particular the clinical and service outcomes of a randomised control trial of a psychosocial intervention to reduce suicidal ideation and emergency ( ED) representations in an identified at risk and vulnerable group of people who presented at emergency in the western metropolitan area of Melbourne, Australia will be presented. The psychosocial intervention consisted of psychosocial assessment, engagement with the team, brief client-centred psychotherapy and community linkage. At six-weeks, as compared with those who did not receive the Suicide Prevention in the Emergency Department (SPED) intervention, those who received SPED’s intervention demonstrated improvements in all aspects of general health status (as measured by the General Health Questionnaire – GHQ-28), psychological well-being, illness, social relationships and health-related quality of life (as measured by the Assessment of Quality of Life – AQoL). Overall, those people who received SPED’s intervention placed a higher importance on wanting to stay alive than those that did not receive the intervention, and had half the number of re-presentations to ED in the following six-months.

Recommendations for service implementation will be discussed.