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Suicide risk management 

Suicide risk management
Chapter:
Suicide risk management
Author(s):

Kerry C. Hughes

and Jeffrey L. Metzner

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199360574.003.0043_update_001

Update:

Minor changes throughout.

Updated on 28 September 2017. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 17 January 2020

There are many risks associated with incarceration, and a substantial one is suicide. Virtually every completed suicide generates litigation. Prevalence, demographics, trends, screening and assessment of suicide risk, and recognition of the key factors associated with increased risk and managing that risk safely and appropriately in jails is presented. The factors relating to increasing suicide risk in prisons are often quite distinct from other correctional settings. Issues such as restrictive housing, facility transfers, loss of community social supports, and chronic management all play potential roles. Proactive recognition of such concerns and active management is critical to effective risk reduction. This chapter discusses such factors in the context of changing prison dynamics and trends. Following completed suicides, a formal protocol is often followed to assist staff in understanding the events that led to the suicide and specifically intervening to address staff feelings that follow such a trauma. Such a process assists quality improvement initiatives, whether in the form of a root cause analysis or other format. Best practice approaches to post-mortem review and staff intervention/ support have been developed and are in use in many facilities. Working to eliminate or reduce the frequency of suicide attempts absolutely requires a staff culture committed to continued learning and improving of both knowledge and skills. This chapter presents a review of the current standards of suicide risk reduction training.

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