Equipping primary care to identify and support people in distress
What do we know?
Suicidal individuals often visit primary care providers in the weeks or days before suicide yet many do not mention their suicidal thoughts to their doctor or if they do, they often don’t receive the care and support they need.
There are many reasons for this including fear, stigma and time pressures. Many GPs are unaware of referral points and current best practice care and treatment. Encouraging evidence-based practice and greater integration with other services is critical.
Capacity building and education for GPs is one of the most promising interventions for reducing suicide.
- Delivering Advanced Training in Suicide Prevention (ATSP) to GPs
- Equipping practices with a ‘StepCare’ platform, an evidence-based screening tool designed specifically for general practice. StepCare:
- Provides for universal patient screening in general practice using an evidence-based screening tool
- Enables the identification and referral of patients with mental health symptoms to appropriate services matched to symptom severity, including patients with suicidality
- Includes conversation scripts to help GPs talk to patients about mental health
- Includes referral pathways and online mental health tools
- Monitors patient symptoms through fortnightly follow-up screening
- Integrates with general software packages including practice clinical software and PHN Health Pathways
- Building and supporting local multidisciplinary collaborative networks, including coordinating professional development events
- Encouraging the use of e-Mental Health resources by linking GPs in with the e-Mental Health in Practice website
What are the updates?
Advanced Training in Suicide Prevention (ATSP) and Talking about Suicide in General Practice (TASGP)
25 courses in LifeSpan Advanced Training in Suicide Prevention (ATSP) and Talking about suicide in General Practice (TASGP) have been delivered across the four LifeSpan trial sites (Newcastle, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Central Coast and Murrumbidgee). Of the 271 attendees within the four LifeSpan trial sites, 163 were health professionals (General Practitioners, Psychologists or Allied Health Professionals)
- The StepCare digital screening service has shown that 37.5% of patients reporting mental health issues had never seen a GP for their mental health prior to using StepCare.
- StepCare has been implemented in general practices in three of the four LifeSpan sites (Newcastle, Central Coast and Illawarra Shoalhaven) and is in pre-implementation in Murrumbidgee.
- StepCare train-the-trainer workshops have been held in all four NSW trial sites, with sessions also held in the ACT trial site.
Strategy Summary – Primary Care
This brochure provides community members with a summary of the evidence, what is happening and how you can get involved.
Research Summary - Primary Care
This document provides a detailed summary of the evidence covering why the strategy is included in LifeSpan, evidence supporting the interventions recommended by LifeSpan, and how this strategy will be evaluated as part of the LifeSpan NSW Research trial.