Never the Twain? Reconciling National Suicide Prevention Strategies with the Practice, Educational, and Policy Needs of Mental Health Nurses (Part Two)

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Suicide remains as a distinct global public health problem and the reduction of rates continues to be a major concern of the governments of many countries. This two-part paper focuses on national suicide prevention strategies; it highlights common policy directions that appear to speak directly to the practice and/or educational needs of mental health (MH) nurses and juxtaposes these against the realities of their practice and educational needs. Part one focused on two of these policy directions, whereas part two concentrates on the following policy directions: (iii) initiatives to reduce access to lethal means; (iv) improve surveillance systems; and (v) training for caregivers to improve delivery of effective treatments. The paper argues that while being mindful of the physical environment and its associated access to means, the national suicide prevention policy literature should consider reflecting that this should be an adjunct to the more central aspects of MH nursing care of people who are suicidal. Further, it is argued that the suicide policy literature should consider replacing ‘improving surveillance systems’ with ‘improving the ability and capacity of MH nurses to engage with people who are suicidal’. Lastly, the paper asserts that the suicide policy literature might consider refining the policy direction on additional training to indicate the need for additional post-graduate (post-basic) education and training in care of the person with suicidal tendencies, which includes dialectical behavioural therapy; the work emanating from the University of Toronto; and the skills, attitudes, and knowledge perhaps captured with the terms, engagement, co-presencing, and inspiring hope.


To acquire a personal use copy of this work, contact John Cutcliffe at john.cutcliffe@wright.edu.



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