A mental health trust based in Liverpool has launched a “zero suicide” strategy in a bid to eliminate suicide of patients under its care.
Mersey Care Trust hopes to significantly reduce suicide among the trust’s patients within the next year and a half, with the aim of having no cases by 2020.
The organisation was one of the first to publicly commit to the coalition government’s call at the start of the year for all trusts to commit to a new ambition for ‘zero suicide’.
The trust’s associate medical director for suicide prevention Rebecca Martinez told Nursing Times the organisation’s strategy would in its first year centre on staff learning.
”We are looking at new services, new approaches and potentially even new types of worker”
All staff will complete mandatory refreshed training on suicide prevention and awareness, she said, with sessions also planned on learning from adverse incidents so mistakes are not repeated.
Dr Martinez said this was part of a four-point plan which would include a focus on engaging with service users to redesign services.
The trust’s chief executive, Joe Rafferty, added the organisation will collect and analyse patient data in new ways to better assess the risk of someone who might attempt suicide and then subsequently improve their care plan.
“So rather than somebody harbouring years of suicidal thinking, and eventually that reaching a tipping point, we can intervene at a stage much earlier in that cycle of behaviour,” he said.
He said the trust wanted to take the same rigorous approach to its use of clinical data as had been seen in the use of data to help reduce hospital acquired infections or post-operative risk in surgery.
In addition, he said the trust was in discussion with commissioners to increase liaison after discharge and about how to use buddying schemes to prevent patients from becoming isolated on their return to the community.
“We do know that in the couple of weeks post discharge, this is a really dangerous period for people who have suicidal thoughts.
“We are looking at new services, new approaches and potentially even new types of workers – there is a great opportunity for people with lived experience to move into peer mentoring schemes,” he added.