Suicide Prevention

This toolkit provides information, resources and quality improvement (QI) tools for managers and clinicians to reduce the impact of suicide on mental health service consumers in NSW health services. The resources may be adapted to suit local needs that is, for initial implementation, to review and improve current practices or support current practice

Continuous improvement is the path to safer healthcare. The World Health Organization defines safety as continuously improving the delivery of better health outcomes by minimising the risk and impact of unnecessary harm to patients. Every consumer deserves the safest possible care, and continuous improvement is the path to safer healthcare.

Modern healthcare is not only more effective but also more complex than ever, which has potential implications for consumer safety. Quality and safety systems help protect consumers from harm through identifying and mitigating risks and continuous improvement.

Central to the Zero Suicides in Care (ZSiC) approach is a commitment to continuous system improvement. Building the organisation's capability through strong and committed leadership, training that is relevant to staff roles and responsibilities and using data to monitor and assess progress against planned outcomes is foundational to ZSiC implementation.

This is complemented by the Suicide Care Pathway which is designed to meet the specific needs of each individual presenting to a health service. It requires understanding the person's narrative, including the circumstances that brought them to a state of despair. Engaging support networks and other agencies is an important step on the road to recovery.

Developing the Suicide Care Pathway is an iterative process, not a 'set and forget', one-off change. Suicide prevention and care on the Suicide Care Pathway is continuously monitored, reviewed and improved. This continuous system improvement process is informed by data including process, outcome, experience and balancing measures and lessons and insights from the analysis of incidents.

This toolkit will assist mental health services to use improvement science and data to monitor, evaluate and improve suicide care systems and practice.

The Suicide Prevention Quality Improvement Toolkit has been developed to support the 'IMPROVE' section of the Zero Suicides in Care Framework. This toolkit can be used together with the "Guide for developing a local suicide care pathway" (Under development by the Agency for Clinical Innovation) to support local health districts to determine if the implementation of the suicide care pathway is an improvement.

To join the Suicide Prevention Quality Improvement Community of Practice (hosted via the Quality Improvement Data System - QIDS) the project team must first complete the online registration form (Note – QIDS is only available to NSW Health employees on the NSW Health network. You can request access from your local clinical governance unit). Following this, the CEC will add the project team to the Suicide Prevention Toolkit Improvement Project in QIDS.

Via QIDS, project teams will be able to:

  • Access additional resources and QI tools, including examples specific to the Suicide Prevention toolkit
  • Manage their own improvement project
  • Collaborate with other teams undertaking Suicide Prevention improvement.

The QIDS icon icon is used throughout the toolkit to indicate when and how to use QIDS for your improvement project.