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ItemDevelopment of mental health first aid guidelines for suicidal ideation and behaviour: A Delphi studyKelly, CM ; Jorm, AF ; Kitchener, BA ; Langlands, RL (BMC, 2008-03-18)BACKGROUND: Suicide is a statistically rare event, but devastating to those left behind and one of the worst possible outcomes associated with mental illness. Although a friend, family member or co-worker may be the first person to notice that a person is highly distressed, few have the knowledge and skills required to assist. Simple guidelines may help such a person to encourage a suicidal individual to seek professional help or decide against suicide. METHODS: This research was conducted using the Delphi methodology, a method of reaching consensus in a panel of experts. Experts recruited to the panels included 22 professionals, 10 people who had been suicidal in the past and 6 carers of people who had been suicidal in the past. Statements about how to assist someone who is thinking about suicide were sourced through a systematic search of both professional and lay literature. The guidelines were written using the items most consistently endorsed by all three panels. RESULTS: Of 114 statements presented to the panels, 30 were accepted. These statements were used to develop the guidelines appended to this paper. CONCLUSION: There are a number of actions which are considered to be useful for members of the public when they encounter someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts or engaging in suicidal behaviour. These guidelines will be useful in revision of curricula of mental health first aid and suicide intervention training programs. They can also be used by members of the public who want immediate information about how to assist a suicidal person.
ItemMental health first aid responses of the public: results from an Australian national surveyJorm, AF ; Blewitt, KA ; Griffiths, KM ; Kitchener, BA ; Parslow, RA (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2005-01-01)BACKGROUND: The prevalence of mental disorders is so high that members of the public will commonly have contact with someone affected. How they respond to that person (the mental health first aid response) may affect outcomes. However, there is no information on what members of the public might do in such circumstances. METHODS: In a national survey of 3998 Australian adults, respondents were presented with one of four case vignettes and asked what they would do if that person was someone they had known for a long time and cared about. There were four types of vignette: depression, depression with suicidal thoughts, early schizophrenia, and chronic schizophrenia. Verbatim responses to the open-ended question were coded into categories. RESULTS: The most common responses to all vignettes were to encourage professional help-seeking and to listen to and support the person. However, a significant minority did not give these responses. Much less common responses were to assess the problem or risk of harm, to give or seek information, to encourage self-help, or to support the family. Few respondents mentioned contacting a professional on the person's behalf or accompanying them to a professional. First aid responses were generally more appropriate in women, those with less stigmatizing attitudes, and those who correctly identified the disorder in the vignette. CONCLUSIONS: There is room for improving the range of mental health first aid responses in the community. Lack of knowledge of mental disorders and stigmatizing attitudes are important barriers to effective first aid.
ItemDevelopment of mental health first aid guidelines for deliberate non-suicidal self-injury: A Delphi studyKelly, CM ; Jorm, AF ; Kitchener, BA ; Langlands, RL (BMC, 2008-07-23)BACKGROUND: It is estimated that around 4% of the population engages, or has engaged, in deliberate non-suicidal self-injury. In clinical samples, the figures rise as high as 21%. There is also evidence to suggest that these figures may be increasing. A family member or friend may suspect that a person is injuring themselves, but very few people know how to respond if this is the case. Simple first aid guidelines may help members of the public assist people to seek and receive the professional help they require to overcome self-injury. METHODS: This research was conducted using the Delphi methodology, a method of reaching consensus in a panel of experts. Experts recruited to the panels included 26 professionals, 16 people who had engaged in self-injurious behaviour in the past and 3 carers of people who had engaged in self-injurious behaviour in the past. Statements about providing first aid to a person engaged in self-injurious behaviour were sought from the medical and lay literature, but little was found. Panel members were asked to respond to general questions about first aid for NSSI in a variety of domains and statements were extracted from their responses. The guidelines were written using the items most consistently endorsed by the consumer and professional panels. RESULTS: Of 79 statements rated by the panels, 18 were accepted. These statements were used to develop the guidelines appended to this paper. CONCLUSION: There are a number of actions which are considered to be useful for members of the public when they encounter someone who is engaging in deliberate, non-suicidal self-injury. These guidelines will be useful in revising curricula for mental health first aid and NSSI first aid training programs. They can also be used by members of the public who want immediate information about how to assist a person who is engaging in such behaviour.