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American professor praises our suicide prevention work

Dr Kathryn Turner, Clinical Director of Mental Health and Specialist Services, introduces Dr Anthony Pisani and co-facilitator Kristina Mossgraber who presented a suicide prevention workshop to Gold Coast Health staff in April

An American psychiatry professor recently visited Gold Coast Health to talk to staff about the health service’s proactive suicide prevention work.

Tony Pisani is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Paediatrics at the University of Rochester Centre for the Study and Prevention of Suicide, and founder of SafeSide Prevention.

Dr. Pisani is an internationally-recognised leader in suicide prevention education and workforce development.

Gold Coast Mental Health and Specialist Services has adopted Dr Pisani’s specific approach in Suicide Risk Assessment and Management including his prevention-oriented risk formulation approach.

“The early results are very encouraging that we are having a real impact on this challenging issue of suicide and suicide attempts,” said Dr Kathryn Turner, Clinical Director of Mental Health and Specialist Services.
“This is due to the amazing work of so many of our clinicians across the service.”

Literature has demonstrated that categorising suicide risk into low, medium or high is not helpful in predicting future risk of suicide or determining who should or should not receive further services, Dr Turner said.

All mental health clinical staff at Gold Coast Health have been trained to use this new model of risk assessment which is now a compulsory component of assessment protocol applied to all patients presenting to Gold Coast Health, and in particular those who are eventually placed on the Suicide Prevention Pathway.

Dr Pisani is now collaborating with Gold Coast Health as a co-chief investigator on a large research project that will look at specific psychological interventions for consumers presenting in crisis.

While visiting the service in April, he and co-facilitator Kristina Mossgraber presented a workshop on keeping clients safe. Ms Mossgraber is a patient advocate and has lived experience of bipolar disorder, surviving multiple suicide attempts. Dr Pisani praised the exciting work being undertaken in Gold Coast in the area of suicide prevention and after visiting the Acute Care Team, highlighted the proactive, patient-centred responses of clinicians across the service.

“SafeSide is a framework for recovery-oriented suicide prevention that lifts our sights beyond merely ‘keeping clients safe’ toward a vision of evidence-based care that is truly connected with a client’s needs, experiences, and growth potential,” according to Dr Pisani. “It is the next-generation update of Commitment to Living, an evidence-based workshop that addresses common dilemmas, demands, and rewards of supporting individuals at risk for suicide. With a focus on prevention-oriented risk formulation.”

If this article has raised issues for you, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or the 24-Hour Specialist Mental Health Care on 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 22 55).

Last updated 15 Apr 2019