Inventory and Resource Guide Development for the Assessment and Prevention of Suicide Risk

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  • Suicide is a tragic and distressing phenomenon. The negative effects on families, friends and communities following a suicide reinforce the urgency for a better understanding and prevention of suicide. In Canada, Statistics Canada reported that 3,500 people died by suicide in 2006. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the rate of suicide has risen since 1950, as much as 268% among men aged 15 to 24 (WHO, 2003). In addition to the rise in rates of persons who have died by suicide, even more persons have been hospitalized due to attempted suicide, as many as 23,000 hospitalizations in Canada in 2001 (Canadian Institute for Health Information [CIHI], 2004). For these reasons, suicide risk assessment has been identified in Canada, and internationally, as a fundamental safety issue among health care organizations. A lack of information on and documentation of suicide risk has been identified as a common issue in reviews of cases where persons have died by suicide in inpatient mental health settings (Mills, Neily, Luan, Osborne, & Howard, 2006). In a review of national suicide prevention strategies among 11 countries, including Canada, Martin and Page (2009) found that standardized suicide risk assessment was not a major component in any of the strategies. A joint Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) and Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) report identified the need for risk assessment tools related to patient safety including suicide (Brickell, Nicholls, Procyshyn, McLean, Dempster, Lavoie, et al., 2009). Focusing on suicide risk assessment is a first step in improving suicide prevention.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International