Study: health workers could prevent suicide

Health workers should be on the alert for suicidal tendencies, study says..



KUUJJUAQ — If health- care workers in Nunavik paid closer attention to their patients’ mental health, Nunavik’s sky-high suicide rate might be reduced, an article published by the Canadian Medical Association says.

Thats the main recommendation in a study the association published last week in its journal.

Nunavik’s suicide rate is 6.5 times the Quebec average.

“Our results indicate that front’line medical personnel in Nunavik are in a position to detect people at high risk for suicide,” said the study, led by McGill University researchers and Stephen Hodgins, Nunavik’s former director of public health.

The study examined the health records of 71 suicide victims from 1982 to 1996.

It found that about one-third of Nunavimmiut who committed suicide had seen health workers within a one-month period before they died.

Health-care workers treated them for health problems, such as hearing loss, which didn’t appear to be related to suicidal tendencies.

But the study found that people who commit suicide usually have more contact with health-care workers than people in a control group.

As a result of these findings, researchers suggest health-care workers improve the detection of hidden depression in their patients, and include a suicide-risk assessment as part of regular check-ups.

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