Suicide ideation amongst people referred for mental health assessment in police custody

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11 Citations (Scopus)
153 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: To examine the prevalence of suicide ideation amongst a group of people who had been arrested and taken into police custody, and were then referred to a mental health service operating in the police stations.
Design/methodology/approach: A referred sample of 888 cases were collected over an 18-month period during 2012/13. Clinical assessments were conducted using a template in which background information was collected (including information about their previous clinical history, substance misuse, alleged offence, any pre-identified diagnoses, and the response of the service) as part of the standard operating procedure of the service. Data were analysed using a statistical software package.
Findings: 16.2% (N = 144) reported suicide ideation, with women being more likely to report than men. 82.6% of the suicide ideation sample reported a history of self-harm or a suicide attempt. Suicide ideation was also associated with certain diagnostic categories (depression, post traumatic stress disorder and personality disorder), a history of contact with mental health services, and recent (within 24-hours) consumption of alcohol or drugs.
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Practical implications:
Social implications:
Originality/value: This evaluation adds to the limited literature in this area by describing a large sample from a real clinical service. It provides information that can assist with future service designs and it offers support for calls for a standardised health screening process, better safety arrangements for those who have recently used alcohol or drugs (within 24 hours) and integrated service delivery across healthcare domains (i.e. physical healthcare, substance use, and mental health).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-156
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Criminal Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2016


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