Patients with mental health problems may attempt suicide, this can be in various ways although most commonly involves overdose of medication or cutting. Attempted suicide is also known as self harm.
Over 6000 patients in the UK annually succeed in ending their own life (statistics from January 2013), however many more attempt to do so.
In this station you wish to assess the patient’s likelihood to attempt suicide, particularly if they have recently done so. It is a psychiatric history station and in order for the patient to open up and be honest with you, you must gain their trust and establish a good rapport.
The assessment has 6 main components:
Introduce yourself to the patient, clarify their identity and explain that you wish to talk to them about their recent attempt to harm themselves.
Assess the patients mood. Particulary note if they are depressed or angry.
Assess whether the patient will be returning to the same situation, such as issues at home?
Question what the patient thinks about the future?
Ask the patient about their current suicide thoughts.
Thank the patient for speaking to you.
You should summarise your findings to the examiner stating the patients suicide risk. You should also suggest what to do next, for example: hospitalisation, outpatient follow-up, or GP follow-up.