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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020235

Patterns of Signs That Telephone Crisis Support Workers Associate with Suicide Risk in Telephone Crisis Line Callers

1,2,3
,
1,2,3,* , 4
,
1
and
3,5,6,7
1
School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
2
Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
3
Centre for Mental Illness in Nowra District: Goals and Prevention (MINDtheGaP), Nowra, NSW 2541, Australia
4
School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
5
Centre for Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
6
Lifeline Research Foundation, Lifeline Australia, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
7
Suicide Prevention Australia, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Suicide Research)
Full-Text   |   PDF [599 KB, uploaded 30 January 2018]   |  

Abstract

Signs of suicide are commonly used in suicide intervention training to assist the identification of those at imminent risk for suicide. Signs of suicide may be particularly important to telephone crisis-line workers (TCWs), who have little background information to identify the presence of suicidality if the caller is unable or unwilling to express suicidal intent. Although signs of suicide are argued to be only meaningful as a pattern, there is a paucity of research that has examined whether TCWs use patterns of signs to decide whether a caller might be suicidal, and whether these are influenced by caller characteristics such as gender. The current study explored both possibilities. Data were collected using an online self-report survey in a Australian sample of 137 TCWs. Exploratory factor analysis uncovered three patterns of suicide signs that TCWs may use to identify if a caller might be at risk for suicide (mood, hopelessness, and anger), which were qualitatively different for male and female callers. These findings suggest that TCWs may recognise specific patterns of signs to identify suicide risk, which appear to be influenced to some extent by the callers’ inferred gender. Implications for the training of telephone crisis workers and others including mental-health and medical professionals, as well as and future research in suicide prevention are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: suicide; suicide intervention; telephone crisis-helpline; telephone crisis support; men; women; communication; suicide signs; suicide risk suicide; suicide intervention; telephone crisis-helpline; telephone crisis support; men; women; communication; suicide signs; suicide risk
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Hunt, T.; Wilson, C.; Caputi, P.; Wilson, I.; Woodward, A. Patterns of Signs That Telephone Crisis Support Workers Associate with Suicide Risk in Telephone Crisis Line Callers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 235.

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