Recognising and responding to suicide risk in a community mental health setting

Crowley, Sarah (2015) Recognising and responding to suicide risk in a community mental health setting. D.Clin.Psychol. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Despite the number of best practice guidelines for working with those at risk of suicide, there remains a paucity of research pertaining to the realities of clinical practice. The aim of this study was to develop a grounded theory of how clinicians respond to those at risk of suicide in UK community mental health settings. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven members of staff including social workers, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists and occupational therapists. A theory grounded in the resulting data was developed.
Results: Anxiety, uncertainty and practitioners’ perceived responsibility for preventing suicide influenced their attributions in relation to a client’s distress. Findings indicated that clinicians most often attributed low responsibility to clients for both the cause and the solution. Therefore, clinicians sought solutions to suicidal presentations within services, rather than attending to contextual or environmental ‘triggers’ to offer a resolution, potentially increasing dependency on services.
Feeling supported and an environment of psychological safety enhanced professionals’ capacity to tolerate the uncertainty inherent in this work which allowed professionals to ‘hand the responsibility back’. This highlights the importance of services creating an environment of psychological safety in order for clinicians to tolerate the uncertainty of working with those who present with suicide risk.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: suicide, grounded theory, attribution, medical model, psychodynamic
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine > RA0790 Mental health services. Mental illness prevention
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0435 Psychiatry > RC0569 Suicide
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Mrs Kathy Chaney
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2015 11:26
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2018 22:27

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00