Impact News

Responding to Violence, Suicide, Psychosis and Trauma

Edge of Darkness & The Razor’s Edge

8th October 2016. Nottingham Counsellor’s Group are staging this unique “fringe theatre” style training workshop next Saturday and still have a few places available. This workshop is almost exclusively available to closed “in-house” groups which means that it is virtually impossible for individual participants to attend. This is the only opportunity this year so act fast! If you are interested e-mail nottingham.counsellors@gmail.com to book your place.

Filed under: Impact Training, Other Mental Health, self-harm, Suicide, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

Suicide – a casual affair?

ken070912.001.003.FAIRFAX.melb.s/age news  CRYING.photograph by ken irwin  shows  generic single eye crying SPECIAL 111

ken070912.001.003.FAIRFAX.melb.s/age news CRYING.photograph by ken irwin shows generic single eye crying SPECIAL 111

Some while ago I was delivering a training course on “dangerous behaviour” to a housing association when a man popped his head around the door and enquired as to whether this was the “Ladder Awareness Training.” I have to confess, to my shame, I could not prevent myself from bursting out into laughter. Could there really be such a thing as a workshop for grown ups on how to use a ladder? Yet I was the one being silly – an organisation should discharge its responsibility to ensure the safety of its staff and the public.

Now compare this to what we do about suicide. Suicide is the most common cause of death in men under the age of 35 (Five Years On, Department Of Health, 2005) and it’s estimated that around one million people will die by suicide worldwide each year – a lot more than die falling off a ladder! Incredibly, many mental health professionals receive NO training in understanding, assessing and responding to suicidal behaviour. I recently reviewed a M.Sc Forensic Psychology course and, even though the suicide rate in prison is reckoned to be 12 times that of the general public, suicide did not feature at all on the syllabus.

Often friends and family have to wait for a loved one to make an attempt on their life before they get any help – the silver lining should be that at last they will be in the safe and competent hands of the professionals. Except they are not. Acute mental health units often do little more than observe, restrict and medicate – they do not even effectively assess risk even though that is one of their primary roles.

A woman, following a suicide attempt, is admitted to hospital on a Section 2 of the Mental Health Act. A nurse asks some questions to help ascertain whether she really wished to die (she does). During her time in the acute mental health unit no further formal assessment of suicide risk is made and as she declines medication no treatment is offered. Her suicide attempt is viewed as a response to “situational stress” and yet no-one investigates whether her situation was getting better or worse while in hospital (it was getting a whole lot worse). None-the-less, the psychiatrist says she looked happier and told him she wouldn’t hurt herself (an unexplained improvement is an indicator of acute suicide risk and 50% of in-patients dissemble prior to taking their lives) – so takes he her off the Section and allows her leave. She doesn’t return on time and eventually she is found by a helicopter rescue team by a railway track. Still there is no re-assessment of suicide risk and she is allowed to continue taking leave from the ward – despite the the fact that best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour and it is well-known that suicide risk varies enormously over time. She starts making a list of her possessions (putting things in order?) and tells friends and family not to visit (another indicator of suicide risk), but does check that they are coping with her dog. Prior to the current crisis she had always said that the one reason she would never kill herself was her dog – and yet during her whole time on the ward she never once asked to see him (the primary protective factor). The following day she had an important appointment and yet 15 minutes before she was allowed to leave the ward – no-one asked why. She failed to return on time and only did so after frantic calls from her mother. Still there was no re-appraisal of the situation. Later that evening she again asked to leave the ward and was again allowed to do so. This time she didn’t return …

The point is that less training and less skill was applied to keeping this woman alive than was offered to the man hoping to use his ladder. Why?

You might also be interested to read this Poor mental care blamed as mother burns herself to death. Whatever this is about its not lack of resources.

Filed under: Other Mental Health, self-harm, Suicide, Uncategorized, , , ,

Suicide Rates Rise in UK

According to the Office of National Statistics the suicide rate for men aged 45-59 in the UK is now the highest since 1986. Against a trend over the past two decades that has seen suicide rates gradually falling, suicide rates are now rising again for both men and women wih highest suicide rates being among men aged 30-44. According to stephen Platt at Edinburgh University disadvantages midlle aged men face a perfect storm of “unemployment, deprivation, social isolation, changing definitions of what it is to be a man, alcohol misuse, labour market and demographic changes that have had a dramatic effect on their work, relationships and very identity.” Next month the government will award research contracts worth £1.5m to develop new initiatives as part of a “refreshed” suicide prevention strategy.

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Young People who Die in Custody

An important report from the Prison Reform Trust:

http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/Fatally%20Flawed.pdf

Filed under: Impact Training, Other Mental Health, self-harm, Suicide, trauma, Violence, , , , , ,

Suicide in Mid-life Men

Disadvantaged men in mid-life have a tenfold increased risk of suicide. According to the Samaritans this is linked to loss of identity and male pride. Hopelessness is the killer, however, and loss of identity and lack of help-seeking behaviours IMHO contribute to this alongside isolation, poverty, substance misuse, poor mental health.

http://health.yahoo.net/news/s/nm/mid-life-men-struggle-with-identity-have-higher-suicide-risk

Filed under: Other Mental Health, Suicide, , ,

Gender Differences in Suicidal Behaviour in Adolescence

A cursory look at the statistics is enough to tell us that there are huge gender differences involved in suicidal (and self-harming) behaviour. Here’s an interesting study:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/749692 #mentalhealth

Filed under: Impact Training, Other Mental Health, self-harm, Suicide, , , , ,

Razor’s Edge: Suicide & Self-harm Workshop in Nottingham

Nottingham HLG are putting on an open access workshop delivered by Dr Iain Bourne on 27th November 2012. For further information and booking details visit:

http://www.hlg.org.uk/training/quarterly-training-schedule

If you would like this course to be delivered in-house visit www.dangerousbehaviour.com or email impact@dangerousbehaviour.com

Filed under: Impact Training, self-harm, Suicide, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

New Government Strategy for Suicide Prevention in England

Norman Lamb, Minister of State, Department of Health has announced a new strategy for reducing suicides in England today. To access the full document go to

http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/files/2012/09/Preventing-Suicide-in-England-A-cross-government-outcomes-strategy-to-save-lives.pdf

Filed under: Suicide, , ,

Suicide rate masked by coroners’ verdicts

By Martin Beckford, Health Correspondent
07 Oct 2011, Daily Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8811351/Suicide-rate-masked-by-coroners-verdicts.html)

Many more inquests are ending in “narrative verdicts” rather than a ruling that someone killed themselves, often because of caution over their intention.

But it is feared that this may mean up to 6 per cent of suicides being wrongly classified as accidents, which could be “masking the effects of the economic crisis on suicide”.

In an editorial published in the British Medical Journal, Prof David Gunnell at the University of Bristol and colleagues said: “This increased use of narrative verdicts has important effects on the estimation of national suicide rates because these verdicts present coding difficulties for the Office for National Statistics – when suicide intent is unclear such deaths are coded as accidents.”

Official figures show there were 4,648 suicides in England and Wales in 2009, based on the verdicts given by coroners after inquests into unexpected deaths.

But many hangings, overdoses and poisonings are being treated as possible accidents, with coroners ending inquests in narrative verdicts that give an account of how the death occurred in a few sentences.

The number of narrative verdicts has risen from just 111 in 2001 to 3,012 – more than one in 10 inquests – in 2009.

This is despite the fact that suicide is sometimes strongly implied in the verdict, with phrases used such as “deceased took his own life with an accidental overdose”, according to the BMJ study.

If all deaths from hanging and poisoning were classed as suicides rather than given narrative verdicts, the suicide rate would be 6 per cent higher.

This would account for almost a third of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy’s target of reducing suicides by 20 per cent.

But even this figure could be an underestimate because the ONS did not include all common methods of killing oneself.

The academics warn: “As the use of narrative verdicts rises, so too may the underestimation of suicide.

“The consequences of this could be incorrect rate estimates, misleading evaluations of national and local prevention activity, and masking of the effects of the current economic crisis on suicide.

“Furthermore, because coroners vary greatly in their use of narrative verdicts, suicide rates may (falsely) seem to decline in areas served by coroners who make most use of such verdicts.”

But Prof Louis Appleby, chairman of the Government’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, insisted: “There is nothing new in finding that some probable suicides are omitted from official statistics because of doubts about the person’s intent.

“Coroners used to record verdicts of accident or misadventure in many such cases, now they may record a narrative verdict.

“There is no reason to doubt the fall in suicide in England in the last decade, though of course we should continue to examine how narrative verdicts are used.”

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Bullying linked to child suicides

(UKPA)
Nearly half of suicides among 10 to 14-year-olds are due to bullying, according to research.

Charity Beatbullying said of 59 cases of child suicide reported in the national media between 2000 and 2008, 26 were definitely connected to bullying.

But research suggested up to 78 out of the 176 official total of suicides in the age range were actually victims of bullying.

Official data also recorded 1,769 suicides of 15 to 19-year-olds between 2000 and 2008, Beatbullying said, which indicated that the total number of bullying-related adolescent suicides could be in the hundreds. The charity found that that every child suicide case related to bullying cited school as the main place of persecution.

Of these, four cases also cited cyber bullying – where bullying takes place online, by email and on social networking sites – as a contributory factor. Beatbullying’s report was published to mark the second anniversary of the death of 13-year-old Sam Leeson, who hanged himself after being bullied physically and over the internet.

Chief executive Emma-Jane Cross said: “The connection between bullying and child suicide is undeniably clear and the lack of clarity and research in this area is unacceptable – we need action and we need it now. Government need to take a long, hard look at the issue to understand why children as young as ten are taking their own lives.

“It’s a distressing subject but one which must be investigated as a matter of urgency if we’re to help our young people and prevent them taking such desperate action – suicide should never feel like the only option for any child or young person.”

Sam Leeson’s mother, Sally Cope said: “Two years ago my 13-year-old son Sam took the tragic decision to take his own life as a result of bullying, so I know from personal experience just how devastating the consequences of bullying can be, and the void Sam’s death has left in my family.

“I urge the government to take action to fund anti bullying work in schools and make the information regarding child suicides available so that organisations such as Beatbullying can work alongside them to prevent further deaths.”

Beatbullying’s research indicated a higher tendency of bully-related suicide among girls aged between 10 and 14, with 65% of such deaths coming girls. Its research was independently verified by Dr Benjamin Richardson at Warwick University.

Filed under: Suicide, , ,