Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Men, Children and Suicide Assessment

We in the US have vigorously moved toward screening a wide range of patients for suicidal risk, but researchers say we have far to go, especially where men and children are concerned.
Asking men during routine medical consults about suicidal thoughts can be uncomfortable for both physician and patient, leading to an abbreviated conversation along the lines of, "Are you depressed? No? So you don't think about suicide." This apprehensive sort of assessment may miss the real issue, though.
Researchers at the University of Western Sydney are encouraging us to remember that suicide is not necessarily connected with depression, especially in men.
In a fascinating study earlier this month, Professor John Macdonald, Co-director of the UWS Men's Health Information and Resource Centre, and his investigative team studied cases of attempted and completed suicides in Australian men ages 25 to 44. They concluded that there are social “pathways” to suicide for men. These include job pressures, (over- or under- or unemployed), separation from children or partners through divorce or other family ruptures, certain adverse childhood events and abuse of alcohol or drugs.
For more information, contact Mr. Macdonald directly via email.
Meanwhile, children's mental health concerns appear to be overlooked by many primary care providers. Perhaps these physicians, too, are reticent to imply that someone's child is struggling by merely asking the question. The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health issued distressing results on Monday that found 56% of primary care providers are not asking parents about mental health issues their children may be facing.
“We found that more than one-half of parents report that their primary care physician never asks about whether they have mental health concerns for their child,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the National Poll on Children’s Health. “We’re concerned that some PCPs may not ask about mental health problems because of not being able to address the issues themselves or because of the lack of specialty mental health services available to which they could refer kids if problems come up.”
In fact, according to 25% of the parents surveyed, found it difficult to get their children the services they need, although 62% did get them eventually.

Photo: Daniel Diaz

Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Custom Search