GPs can help reduce youth suicide rates: Study
Feb 22, London: A study by The University of Nottingham has found the need to train General Physicians on assessment and management of youth suicide risks as suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people aged between 15 and 29 worldwide.
The study led by academics at the University showed that though General Physicians(GPs) are relatively confident in dealing with general mental health, specialist knowledge to assess and manage suicide risk among their young patients is required, as suicide risk assessment is an area that most GPs find particularly challenging. "Time limited consultations coupled with lack of specialist clinical skills and inadequate mental health training have been identified by GPs as significant barriers to the assessment and management of suicidal presentations," the study stated.
“This study has important implications for the provision of specialist training to support GPs in the assessment and management of youth suicide risk. Equipping GPs with the knowledge, skills and confidence to identify early and manage suicide risk in young people could improve the quality and safety of primary care services and ultimately prevent avoidable deaths," said Dr Maria Michail, in the University’s School of Health Sciences.
According to her, however, for any such training to be effective it would need to be accompanied by significant changes in the communication between General Physicians and mental health professionals. "Suicide is a largely preventable public health problem and we want to raise awareness about how we can support young people through difficult times in their lives.”
Identifying the risk
The study shows that GPs can identify and assess suicide risk as young patients who tend to commit suicide visit their GP more in the one to three months leading up to their death.
Those who take their own lives are also likely to have attempted suicide and may have talked about it and approximately, eighty per cent of those who take their own life tend to cause some sort of harm to themselves previously. So,the study involved GPs from five practices in Nottingham taking part in a series of focus groups over a six-month period discussing their experiences of offering mental health care to young people.
The Oslo Times