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Suicide prevention: How nurses can make all the difference

Recognising the signs of a suicide can turn a patient’s life around, writes Mark Greener

Every 35 minutes, someone, somewhere in England and Wales takes their own life.1 While suicide can seem unexpected, there are often opportunities to intervene.
For instance, most people who die by suicide, in non-COVID-19 years at least, contacted their GP in the year before their death.2

Indeed, many chronic diseases that nurses see in day-to-day practice can predispose to suicide. Older people with cancer, neurological or rheumatoid disease, pain or liver conditions are all at increased suicide risk, for example.3 Depression is, of course, a pre-eminent risk factor for suicidality. About 60% of those who die by suicide have diagnosed depression.4

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