Suicidal Behaviour and Primary Health Care Services

Koulouri, Agoritsa
July 2009
Nosileftiki;Jul2009, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p292
Academic Journal
Self-destructive behaviour is a most complex phenomenon in humans, with psychiatric, psychological, philosophical and social dimensions. In the 15 - 44 years age group, suicide is among the three most common causes of death. This does not include cases of attempted suicide, which are 20 times greater than the incidence of successful suicide. Suicide is rare in childhood and early adolescence but its incidence increases gradually between 12 and 14 years of age, and dramatically between 15 and 19 years, particularly in girls. Risk factors for suicidal behaviour include demographic factors (sex, family status), psychiatric factors (physical and mental health status, previous suicide attempts), biological factors, stressful life events, cultural features and religious beliefs. Nurses and the other health care professionals of the multi-disciplinary Primary Health Care (PHC) services are often the first who deal with suicidal behaviour. They may be called upon to prevent a patient from committing suicide or they may be required to treat a patient who has already made a suicidal attempt. Preventing suicide is one of the most challenging tasks for society. Community nurses in collaboration with other health care professionals should be skilled in the prevention of suicidal behaviour, taking initiative and developing a strategic plan in order to indentify those individuals who are at risk. In addition, the PHC services should implement a crisis intervention plan which ensures appropriate and timely care for patients who are having a suicidal crisis. These services should help these people to establish their own personal perspectives in life with the aim of permanently overcoming the problem of self-destructive behaviour.


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