Category / Knowledge Exchange

Dr. Ann Luce honoured in Malaysia on World Suicide Prevention Day

Dr. Ann Luce, Associate Professor in Journalism and Communication in FMC and her colleague, Dr. Ravivarma Rao Panirselvam, a psychiatrist in the Ministry of Health at Hospital Miri were honoured by The Honorable Dato Sri Hajah Fatimah Abdullah, Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development in Sarawak, Malaysia earlier today (September 10th) for their work in creating guidelines for police on how to speak with journalists about suicide deaths and suicide attempts.

The guidelines were launched at a World Suicide Prevention Day event where policy makers, Members of Parliament and the Sarawak State Assembly learned about suicide prevention and discussed the decriminalisation of suicide within the country.

The guidelines, and an accompanying Z-fold flyer for police duty belts, have been distributed to officers within the Royal Malaysia Police in Sarawak. The guidelines advise police to identify a single point of contact (spokesperson) to discuss suicides with journalists and advise them on what type of information they should share with journalists and how to do this safely and responsibly. The guidance also states that police should avoid talking about specific suicide methods and locations of deaths. The guidelines also advise police to provide helpline information so journalists can educate the general population that suicide is a public health issue and not a criminal one.

While Malaysia’s crude suicide rate is about 5.6 per 100,000 inhabitants and below the global crude rate of 10.6 per 100,000 people, suicide rates in Malaysia have been steadily climbing since 2010. With only one psychiatrist for every 200,000 residents in the country, Malaysia falls short of the World Health Organisation recommendation of one psychiatrist to 10,000 residents. Coupled with social stigma regarding mental health and growing mental health problems amongst young people, there is a push within the country to now decriminalise suicide.

Malaysia is believed to be one of about 20 countries around the world that still treats suicide as an illegal act. There are a further 20 countries which follow Islamic or Sharia Law where suicide or suicide attempts are illegal and can be punished with jail sentences.

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Dr. Ann Luce at Mental Health Academy Suicide Prevention Summit

Dr. Ann Luce, Associate Professor in Journalism and Communication in FMC is keynoting at the Mental Health Academy Suicide Prevention Summit on Saturday, 11th September in honour of World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th).

In partnership with the British Psychological Society (BPS), the summit aims to equip practicing mental health professionals with the most up-to-date, advanced knowledge and treatment options on suicide prevention.

With suicide rates amongst medical professionals some of the highest in the UK, Dr. Luce will share early findings from her most recent research here in Dorset on how suicide is stigmatised amongst mental health professionals, the attitudes and barriers to seeking help within mental healthcare Trusts and what Trusts need to do to make the workplace safer for mental health staff.

Dr. Ann Luce to present at Public Health/NHS South West Regional Summit

Dr. Ann Luce, Associate Professor in Journalism and Communication in FMC will present at the Public Health England and NHS England South West Regional Suicide Prevention Summit tomorrow, 3rd September in honour of World Suicide Prevention Day which is on 10th September.

Dr. Luce will be presenting with Kirsty Hillier, Head of Communications for Dorset’s Integrated Care System on the communication and media strategy she created for the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, Public Health Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council to de-escalate a cluster of suicides at a local railway station in Bournemouth in 2019-2020.

The paper, “Online and Social Media: supporting communities to respond to suspected clusters” will cover how the strategy contributed to the saving of 20 lives between October and December 2019, led to the creation of five active working groups within the multi-agency partnership: 1. Real Time Surveillance and Suicide Attempts group, 2. Communication and Media group, 3. Suicide Bereavement group, 4. High Intensity Presenters group and 5. Training group, and also de-escalated the cluster by June 2020. The paper will also discuss the importance of educating and training local MPs, Councillors, Media and Community on the responsible way to discuss suicide in face-to-face conversations as well as online.

The work is being hailed as best practice by Public Health England and NHS England and is being disseminated across the country via Integrated Care Systems and the regional summits.