Suicide

Revised January 2018

Relevant Legislation

Not applicable

Intent

The clients of LOFT are at higher risk of suicide due to many living with mental health and/or addictions issues and experiencing difficult life circumstances.  This policy outlines assessment of risk, immediate actions to be taken and actions to be taken in the event of a suicide attempt or a death by suicide.

There are four principles when dealing with suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts:  Safety first, consultation, offer service, and treat individuals with respect and dignity.

Staff is required to take immediate action if it is assessed that an individual is in imminent danger to themselves or others.

Definitions

Form 1:  If the client has been seen within the last 72 hours or if the physician can witness a threat of serious danger to themselves or others, the physician may complete a Form 1 to allow the police to bring the client to a hospital for an assessment.

 

Policy

Suicide Risk

All suicidal talk, threats or gestures are to be taken seriously.  Assess the seriousness of intent by learning the following:

-what are the sources of the person’s feelings

-has the person attempted suicide before (25-50% of those who complete suicide have tried before)

-does the person have  a specific suicide plan (in general the more specific the plan, the more serious the intent)

-Assess the method (in general, the more lethal the method, the more serious the plan)

-Consider precipitating factors

- Evaluate the person’s sense of hopelessness

-Assess whether the individual has a supportive network to turn to and what kind of support he/she is hoping for.

If the individual is ambivalent or unable to access support, seek consultation from the program director, senior management, psychiatric or medical professionals immediately.  The person may be transported to the hospital by ambulance if it is deemed that there is a risk of suicide.

If an individual is posing a threat to themselves or to others, if interventions are not successful, and if the person refuses to seek help, it may be necessary to have the client taken to the hospital for a psychiatric assessment.  In that event, the Mobile Crisis support team should be called through the Police line immediately.  The program director or on call staff should be notified as soon as possible after the call.  Staff should remain with the client while waiting for the Police.  If possible, staff should meet the client at the hospital.

Discovering a client after an attempt of suicide or completed suicide

If a staff is concerned about a client and the risk of suicide and checks on them in their home, it is mandatory that this staff is accompanied by another staff.

If a client is found injured or dead, Police are to be called immediately and staff should ensure that police contact family and/or the emergency contact for the person .  The staff should not touch anything in the home.  The program director or on-call staff person should be notified and it is the program director’s responsibility to ensure that staff receive the support both immediately and  following the discovery and in the weeks and months following. If clients or families are also impacted by an client injury or death due to suicide, they should  be offered access to support services.

An incident report should be completed within 24 hours and Program director notified.  The Program Director will notify the Director of Operations and the CEO of LOFT.

 

Procedures

See program manual