Responding to Suicide Clusters in the Community: What Do Existing Suicide Cluster Response Frameworks Recommend and How Are They Implemented?

Nicole T.M. Hill, Jo Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Suicide clusters involve an excessive number of suicides, suicide attempts, or both, that occur close in space or time or involve social links between cluster members. Although suicide clusters are rare, evidence documenting the implementation of suicide cluster response activities in communities is required yet remains limited. In this study, we identified the core components of existing suicide cluster response frameworks through a search of the grey literature and conducted an international survey to assess the implementation of the core components by stakeholders with experience responding to a suicide cluster. The following six core components were identified from five cluster response frameworks and were incorporated into a survey assessing stakeholders’ experiences of responding to a suicide cluster: (1) Preparing for a suicide cluster; (2) Routine monitoring of suicide, suicide attempts, and cluster detection; (3) Coordination with the media and monitoring social media; (4) Identifying and supporting individuals at risk; (5) Promoting help-seeking and building community resilience; and (6) Long-term follow-up and evaluation. Twenty-six stakeholders completed the online survey. Many of the core components were implemented by stakeholders. However, gaps in practice were reported in terms of cluster surveillance, monitoring of referral uptake among bereaved individuals, and long-term evaluation. Barriers to implementation included the perceived availability and suitability of mental health services, and availability of long-term funding. Strategic policy and planning that addresses the practice-based experiences of communities has the potential to facilitate a more coordinated and timely response to suicide clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4444
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

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