Improving confidence in suicide risk assessment

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Staff may lack confidence in assessing suicide risk. Introducing reflective peer review can improve skills and confidence, maximising opportunities to prevent suicide

In this article…

» Why people attempt suicide

» Components of effective suicide risk assessment

» How reflective peer review can enhance mandatory training

McLaughlin S et al (2014) Improving confidence in suicide risk assessment. Nursing Times; 110: 27, 16–18. Suicide risk assessment is a complex task for mental health professionals. Attendance at mandatory training programmes designed to equip staff with the skills to undertake suicide risk assessments can be helpful in ensuring staff understand theoretical aspects. In reality, more support in practice is also required. To address this, we introduced a system of reflective peer review. This has helped staff to reflect on their risk assessments, consider the knowledge and information that has informed their risk management plans and discuss this with their peers in a supportive environment. This process has improved staff skills, confidence and documentation.

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