The Feasibility and Clinical Utility of Conducting a Confidential Inquiry Into Suicide in Southwestern Ontario

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Abstract

Abstract.Background and Aims: Given the effectiveness of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCI) in the UK, the present study evaluated this approach in Southwestern Ontario. A systematic confidential examination of suicides in Ontario was developed to guide quality improvement of services and suicide prevention. Method: A 3-year case series of consecutive suicides in Southwestern Ontario identified by the Office of the Chief Coroner was compiled. Clinicians who provided care to suicide decedents completed an online confidential suicide questionnaire offered through a secured portal. Results: A total of 476 suicide cases were analyzed. In all, 270 invitations to clinicians were sent, 237 (87.8%) responded to the invitation and 187 (69.3%) completed the online questionnaire. The majority of the suicide decedents (54.6%, n = 260), were between the ages of 40 and 64 (x = 47.2, SD = 17.1), White (91.4%, n = 416), single (34.2%, n = 439), and male (74.4%, n = 476). Of the 86 cases of self-poisoning, prescription medications were used in 66.3%. Almost two thirds of decedents visited the clinician in the month prior to their death. Limitations: The results of the survey were drawn from suicides in Southwestern Ontario and generalizing these findings should be done with caution. Conclusion: This study highlights (a) the value of the clinicians' survey to identify gaps in clinical services and (b) the necessity of improvements in suicide risk assessment/management and restriction of prescription medications.

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