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Exploring the role of social workers in suicide prevention

Slater, Thomas ORCID: 2014. Exploring the role of social workers in suicide prevention. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis explores the role of social workers in suicide prevention. Using a mixed methods approach the research examines how social workers understand, and work with, suicidal individuals in multi-agency and interdisciplinary settings. In my first empirical chapter (chapter five) a secondary analysis of the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (2007) (n=7,403) explores the circumstances under which social workers come into contact with suicidal individuals. Using a multinomial logistic regression it has been possible to establish that substance misuse is associated with social worker contact. This suggests that social workers are having contact with a group at elevated risk of suicide. The second part of the thesis is based on a series of semi-structured interviews with statutory social workers (n=17) (chapters six and seven), service users with a history of suicide attempts (n=3) and Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPNs) (n=3) (chapter eight). A thematic analysis of the interviews found that although statutory social workers had little or no training in assessing suicide, both service users and CPNs believed that social workers have a vital role in supporting suicidal individuals. Social workers found peer learning to be important as both a source of knowledge and learning, and as a support network. The findings of this research indicate that social workers have particular expertise in taking a holistic approach to suicide assessment and prevention. The Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) role is also felt to give social workers a strong knowledge of the legal issues that underpin working with this vulnerable group. However further research into the contact between social workers and suicidal service users and the assessment of suicide is necessary. The findings of this thesis have implications for practitioners, policy makers and researchers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 10:49

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