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

Andrew Forrester (South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Maudsley Hospital, London, UK)
Chiara Samele (Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, London, UK)
Karen Slade (Department of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Tom Craig (Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, London, UK)
Lucia Valmaggia (Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, London, UK)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 7 November 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is 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 2012/2013. 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

In total, 16.2 per cent (n=144) reported suicide ideation, with women being more likely to report than men. In total, 82.6 per cent 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.

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).

Keywords

Citation

Forrester, A., Samele, C., Slade, K., Craig, T. and Valmaggia, L. (2016), "Suicide ideation amongst people referred for mental health assessment in police custody", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 146-156. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-04-2016-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited