Prof. Ann Luce (FMC), Ms. Georgia Turner (PhD candidate FST), Ms. Lauren Kennedy (MSc student FST) and Dr. Reece D. Bush-Evans (Lecturer in FST) are pleased to announce the publication of their most recent work in British Medical Journal: Medical Humanities titled, “Quite simply they don’t communicate: a case study of a National Health Service response to staff suicide”. You can access the article here for free.
Workplace suicide can have significant knock-on effects within an organisation, yet research has shown within the healthcare profession, not all staff receive suicide prevention training, and few employers take the time to reflect on the need to change workplace policies or practices following the death of a staff member to suicide. How staff suicide is communicated across an organisation and to family members is important. Effective crisis communication is critical for effective management for a timely and sensitive response to a staff suicide within an organisation. By doing so, workplaces can help to reduce the significant emotional trauma suicide can have on an employee, and support good mental health across its workforce.
This groundbreaking work in the field of suicide prevention is already having an impact. The work was cited by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee recent report on “Improving Mental Health Services”. Furthermore, the research has served as the underpinning evidence for NHS England’s National Suicide Prevention Toolkit for England, which will be implemented across all NHS Trusts in England. And, with a renewed focus on healthcare suicide, with a specific focus on female nurses, the research served as underpinning evidence for England’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy that was released in September 2023.
The team would like to thank all research participants as this was a difficult project to complete. Further, thanks must also be extended to NHS England for funding, the BU Open Access Fund, and the colleagues across BU who read drafts of the work prior to publication.