Attitudes toward suicidal behaviour among professionals at mental health outpatient clinics in Stavropol, Russia and Oslo, Norway

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Abstract

Background: Attitudes toward suicidal behaviour can be essential regarding whether patients seek or are offered help. Patients with suicidal behaviour are increasingly treated by mental health outpatient clinics. Our aim was to study attitudes among professionals at outpatient clinics in Stavropol, Russia and Oslo, Norway. Methods: Three hundred and forty-eight (82 %) professionals anonymously completed a questionnaire about attitudes. Professionals at outpatient clinics in Stavropol (n = 119; 94 %) and Oslo (n = 229; 77 %) were enrolled in the study. The Understanding Suicidal Patients (USP) scale (11 = positive to 55 = negative) and the Attitudes Towards Suicide Scale (ATTS) (1 = totally disagree, 5 = totally agree) were used. Questions about religious background, perceived competence and experiences of and views on suicidal behaviour and treatment (0 = totally disagree, 4 = totally agree) were examined. Results: All groups reported positive attitudes, with significant differences between Stavropol and Oslo (USP score, 21.8 vs 18.7; p < 0.001). Professionals from Stavropol vs. Oslo reported significantly less experience with suicidal patients, courses in suicide prevention (15 % vs 79 %) guidelines in suicidal prevention (23 % vs 90 %), interest for suicide prevention (2.0 vs 2.7; p < 0.001), and agreed more with the ATTS factors: avoidance of communication on suicide (3.1 vs 2.3; p < 0.001), suicide is acceptable (2.9 vs 2.6; p = 002), suicide is understandable (2.9 vs 2.7; p = 0.012) and (to a lesser extent) suicide can be prevented (4.2 vs 4.5; p < 0.001). In both cities, psychiatric disorders (3.4) were considered as the most important cause of suicide. Use of alcohol (2.2 vs 2.8; p < 0.001) was considered less important in Stavropol. Psychotherapy was considered significant more important in Stavropol than Oslo (3.6 vs 3.4; p = 0.001). Conclusions: Professionals reported positive attitudes towards helping suicidal patients, with significant differences between cities. A need for further education was reported in both cities, but education was less integrated in mental health care in Stavropol than it was in Oslo. In both cities, psychiatric disorders were considered the major reasons for suicide, and psychotherapy was the most important treatment measure.

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Norheim, A. B., Grimholt, T. K., Loskutova, E., & Ekeberg, O. (2016). Attitudes toward suicidal behaviour among professionals at mental health outpatient clinics in Stavropol, Russia and Oslo, Norway. BMC Psychiatry, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-016-0976-5

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