The failure of suicide prevention in primary care: Family and GP perspectives-a qualitative study.
Leavey, G., Mallon, S., Rondon-Sulbaran, J., Galway, K., Rosato, M. & Hughes, L.
Although Primary care is crucial for suicide prevention, clinicians tend to report completed suicides in their care as non-preventable. We aimed to examine systemic inadequacies in suicide prevention from the perspectives of bereaved family members and GPs.
Qualitative study of 72 relatives or close friends bereaved by suicide and 19 General Practitioners who have experienced the suicide of patients.
Relatives highlight failures in detecting symptoms and behavioral changes and the inability of GPs to understand the needs of patients and their social contexts. A perceived overreliance on anti-depressant treatment is a major source of criticism by family members. GPs tend to lack confidence in the recognition and management of suicidal patients, and report structural inadequacies in service provision.
Mental health and primary care services must find innovative and ethical ways to involve families in the decision-making process for patients at risk of suicide.