Patients affected or bereaved by suspected suicide should be offered tailored support, new NICE guidance has said.
GPs should identify and signpost people affected by a suspected suicide as they are at increased risk of suicide, according to new quality standards by NICE.
It says that providing more information and tailored support can reduce the risk of suicide in this group of patients.
It follows data published by the Office for National Statistics which showed that the suicide rate in the UK has risen for the first time since 2013. The number of deaths recorded as suicide per 100,000 people in 2018 was 11.2, compared with 10.1 in 2017.
The standards, published on World Suicide Prevention Day, say tailored support can include the following:
- Adjustments to working patterns or the regime in residential custodial and detention settings,
- Support from trained peers who have been bereaved or affected by a suicide or suspected suicide,
- Other support identified in Public Health England’s Support after a suicide: a guide to providing local services and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance’s Support after a suicide: developing and delivering local bereavement support services.
NICE cites one resource is the ‘help is at hand’ booklet, developed by Public Health England and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance which provides emotional and practical support for those who are bereaved by suspected suicide.
NICE deputy chief executive and director of health and social care, Professor Gillian Leng, said: ‘Suicide can have a devastating and traumatic experience for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one. It is a difficult subject to talk about and too often it’s not clear what help is available.
‘Bereavement support can help reduce the risk of those affected by a suicide taking their own life. It is important that service providers such as police, hospitals, ambulance services and GPs identify people to give information to and to ask if they need help.
‘No one should have to go through the unexpected death of someone dear to them alone and by offering information and tailored support, those affected can be supported both emotionally and practically.’
Recently, a coroner called for changes to a mental health referrals form for CAMHS after the death of a 15-year-old-boy.