10 September marked the 10th anniversary of World Suicide Prevention Day and worldwide recognition that there have been 10 years of research, 10 years of prevention, 10 years of education and 10 years of sharing information to help reduce the number of people who take their own lives every year around the world. The efforts of the last 10 years have been focused around the belief that we can prevent suicide, and therefore we must all play a part in reducing the stigma that still surrounds it to help those that are overcome by thoughts of taking their own lives.
Within the Trust’s Mental Health Division we have a specialist team in Oxfordshire, based at the John Radcliffe Hospital site who provide emergency psychiatric assessments for anyone being admitted through the Accident and Emergency Department who has performed a deliberate act of self-harm. All patients are assessed by a member of the very experienced nursing staff and following a comprehensive history and risk assessment, regardless of the outcome of these in terms of any follow up from our services, non-identifiable data is recorded that is used by the University Department of Psychiatry to support their extensive research programme into this area.
We know that only half of the people who seriously consider taking their lives have been diagnosed with a recognisable mental health condition, but 90% of those that do have at least one formal psychiatric diagnosis. The reasons for suicide are complex, and many people have a range of biological, social and psychological factors that contribute to their risk. We also know that people who present with a history of previous deliberate acts of self-harm is one of the strongest predictors of future death by suicide. We are proud to be able to support our specialist team through their daily work to contribute to this very important area of research.