Year: 2020 Source: BMC Psychiatry. (2019). 19, 346. SIEC No: 20200972

Suicide and non-fatal self-harm represent key patient safety events in mental healthcare services. However, additional important learning can also be derived by highlighting examples of optimal practice that help to keep patients safe. In this study, we aimed to explore clinicians’ views of what constitutes good practice in mental healthcare services in the context of suicide prevention.

Data were extracted from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) database, a consecutive case series study of suicide by people in contact with mental healthcare services. A large national sample of clinicians’ responses was analysed with a hybrid thematic analysis.

Responses (n = 2331) were submitted by clinicians across 62 mental healthcare providers. The following five themes illustrated good practice that helps to: 1) promote safer environments, 2) develop stronger relationships with patients and families, 3) provide timely access to tailored and appropriate care, 4) facilitate seamless transitions, and 5) establish a sufficiently skilled, resourced and supported staff team.

This study highlighted clinicians’ views on key elements of good practice in mental health services. Respondents included practice specific to mental health services that focus on enhancing patient safety via prevention of self-harm and suicide. Clinicians possess important understanding of optimal practice but there are few opportunities to share such insight on a broader scale. A further challenge is to implement optimal practice into routine, daily care to improve patient safety and reduce suicide risk.