Developing best practice guidelines for the psychosocial assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts

Bernard Leckning, Tanja Hirvonen, Gregory Armstrong, Timothy A. Carey, Mark Westby, Alix Ringbauer, Gary Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To develop guidelines for the culturally responsive psychosocial assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Method: The Delphi method was used to establish expert consensus. A systematic search and review of relevant research literature, existing guidelines and grey literature was undertaken to develop a 286-item questionnaire. The questionnaire contained best practice statements to guide clinicians undertaking psychosocial assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presenting to hospital with self-harm and suicidal thoughts. An expert panel comprising 28 individuals with clinical, community-based and lived experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and/or suicide prevention were recruited and independently rated the items over three rounds. Statements endorsed as essential or important by 90% or more of the expert panel were then synthesised into recommendations for the best practice guideline document. Results: A total of 226 statements across all relevant areas of clinical practice were endorsed. No statements covering the use of structured assessment tools were endorsed. The endorsed statements informed the development of a set of underlying principles of culturally competent practice and recommendations for processes of effective and appropriate engagement; risks, needs and strengths to be assessed; formulation of psychosocial assessment; and recommendations specific to children and young people. Conclusion: The guidelines are based on recommendations endorsed across a range of expertise to address an important gap in the evidence-base for clinically effective and culturally responsive assessment of self-harm and suicidal thoughts by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in hospital settings. Further work is needed to develop an implementation strategy and evaluate the recommendations in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)874-882
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume54
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • hospital
  • psychosocial assessment
  • Self-harm
  • suicidal ideation

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