03/02/2014

Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurse Service

Do you know anyone who you feel may be a suicide risk? Having any thoughts yourself that life is not worth living, and that the escape of suicide may be attractive?

This is far more common than you may think and most people are afraid to talk about it, or don't know who to talk to. Most people  think they don't deserve help, or that they will get over it if they wait long enough.

But it often gets worse without help.

Unfortunately, when someone in a suicide crisis asks for help from someone about their low mood (maybe you) who is not familiar with depression and suicidality, they are far too often told to just get on with it or snap out of it. This can be very unhelpful and make them less likely to look for help from a professional.

The majority of people who go for professional help will attend their GP in the first place. We manage the majority of cases of depressions, anxiety, stress and suicidal thoughts with a combination of supportive therapy, referral for counselling and medication. It is only the very worst cases that we refer to hospital Psychiatric services - inpatient or outpatient.

We are happy to announce that GPs in Galway City now have access to a new and very useful in-practice 'SCAN' service - 'Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurse'. This rapid access service is available by GP referral for a patient in a suicidal crisis or with strong suicidal thoughts. The nurse comes to the GP surgery to meet the patient within a few days of contact where they will do an assessment of the patients suicide risk level, and arrange appropriate follow-up care including faster access to counselling and other support services.

This service achieved great results in the pilot sites (further info at National office for Suicide Prevention). It is a convenient way to access crisis services and is novel in providing this specialist care in the comfort of the GP surgery. Many people find the taboo of visiting a Psychiatric clinic or ward too offputting so this service aims to reduce inappropriate medicalisation or psychiatrisation (who knew such a word existed?!) of an all-too common problem.

Suicide among men under age 35 accounts for about 40% of all Irish suicides. The total number of Irish suicides is officially about 500 per annum although it is likely that many other suicidal deaths are recorded as accidents so the true figure could be significantly higher.

Don't be a statistic. Talk to your GP or one of the many other support services such as the Samaritans or Aware

 


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