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Clinical researchers from Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, together with colleagues from elsewhere, have developed guidance to help clinicians identify and treat patients at risk of suicide.

Crowd of people in an urban setting

The alternative approach to clinical practice, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, was developed by health practitioners and suicide prevention experts, together with a service user.

The new guidance is intended to reduce risk through a person-centred strategy in which assessment is regarded as a therapeutic process which is aimed at identifying interventions to enhance well-being, together with an individualised safety plan developed collaboratively with the patient.

Professor Keith Hawton CBE, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Centre for Suicide Research, Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University, and a lead author on the article, said: ‘A substantial proportion of individuals who die by suicide each year have been suffering from mental illness. Therefore prevention of suicide is one key task of mental health practitioners, but traditionally this has been dominated by attempts to predict suicide risk. Our approach, which is more focussed on a therapeutic approach to addressing risk, should greatly improve patient care, with likely benefits for suicide prevention.’

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

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