Rural Suicide — 09 July 2015

ATTEMPTED suicide is a weekly fact of life for Warwick region medics.

At least one attempted suicide patient passes through Warwick and Stanthorpe hospital emergency departments each week.

Warwick nurses and doctors will soon have the tools they need to stop vulnerable residents making deadly choices thanks to a new training program.

Warwick and Stanthorpe hospital emergency department staff treated 85 patients who had self-harm injuries between May 31 last year and June 1 this year.

The Daily News recently revealed 26 people took their own lives between 2009 and 2012.

The training, to be rolled out over the next 12 months, will help first responders better recognise, assess and manage people at risk of suicide.

Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service Medical Services executive director Dr Hwee Sin Chong said the training would make a big difference for patients and staff.OTRAS (3)

“We look forward to assisting with the facilitation of this state government initiative to help frontline emergency staff at Warwick Hospital in attending to people who may be at risk of suicide,” Dr Chong said.

Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention acting director Professor John O’Gorman said many patients did not get the medical help they needed.

“(This training) can make the difference between life and death,” Prof O’Gorman said.

“We know that up to 75% of victims of suicide have sought help in the lead-up to the fatal event, but the assessment of their situation at the time has been inadequate.

“A large part of the task of suicide prevention then is to have frontline staff deal effectively with potential suicides when they first present and emergency departments are well placed to do this.”

Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Sue Murray said staff and patients would benefit from specialist training.

“First responders to suicide and suicide attempts are exposed to high-risk, stressful and challenging situations and need to be trained and supported to manage their own needs as well as the needs of those they respond to,” she said.

The State Government-funded training will be developed by the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning.

This article first appeared on ‘Warwick Daily News’ on 8 July 2015.


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