Suicide is a major public health problem and among the top three causes of death in young people. Apart from the societal consequences, the economic impact of suicide is profound, with the average cost per suicide in England reaching £1.67m. Youth suicide prevention is a key public health target and national strategies have highlighted the importance of the early identification, assessment and management of at-risk young people.
Primary care is an appropriate pathway for identifying and managing suicide risk, as 45% of those committing suicide, including young adults, contact their GP in the month before their death. However, evidence shows that suicide risk factors in young people (e.g. depression) go unidentified and unmanaged by GPs.
Better training and education
This project, funded by Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group and led by Dr Maria Michail of the Mental Health Research Group, developed an educational intervention for GPs. By providing GPs with adequate training it is expected to increase identification of those at risk and improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people.
Based on Medical Research Council guidelines for complex interventions (2008), researchers carried out a systematic review and stakeholder consultations (GP focus groups and interviews with young people and their families) to ensure the intervention was responsive to perceived need, based on best available evidence and works within existing services.