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Study: Restricting access to lethal means cuts suicide rates

Accreditation Insider, July 5, 2016

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A recent study published in Lancet Psychiatry compared data from 164 studies related to suicidal behavior to find means of prevention. The study found that restricting a person’s access to lethal means was the most effective way to stop suicides.

Restricting access to common suicide sites such as bridges reduced suicide rates by 86%, the authors wrote, while restricting access to painkillers caused a 43% reduction. However, the study authors caution that isn’t the sole factor in prevention.

"In the quest for effective suicide prevention initiatives, no single strategy clearly stands above the others," the authors write. "Combinations of evidence-based strategies at the individual level and the population level should be assessed with robust research designs."

In 2015, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the third most reported sentinel event. In response, The Joint Commission released its Sentinel Event Alert 56 in February, focusing on preventing patient suicide.

In the new study, researchers examined the effectiveness of the seven most commonly used suicide prevention methods, including:

•    Public and physical education
•    Media strategies
•    Screening
•    Restricting access to suicide means
•    Treatments
•    Internet or hotline support
 
For more on treating suicide and suicide ideation, click here for The Joint Commission’s infographic on detecting and treating suicide ideation. And click here for Joint Commission requirements involving suicide.



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