Australian Centre for Addiction Research // ACAR
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Reducing Suicide Risk among Alcohol & Other Substance Misusers

Hopelessness, depression and suicidal ideation are common among people who misuse alcohol and other stances. A general relationship between alcohol / substance abuse and self-harming behaviour has been recognised for decades. Amongst diagnosed substance abusers there is a correspondingly high incidence of suicide and self-harm. The lifetime risk for suicide for people with alcohol dependence is higher than for people suffering from schizophrenia or affective disorder. Despite the public health personal burden associated with suicidality, there is a general lack of skills and focus on management of self-harm. Randomised controlled trials demonstrating the effectiveness of suicide prevention programs are scarce.

We have been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to conduct a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the impact of a suicide risk reduction program among alcohol and other substance misusers. This is the first randomised controlled trial to opportunistically screen all alcohol / substance misusers presenting to the Drug and Alcohol Services and Emergency Departments for suicide risk, and offer them a structured outpatient treatment to manage suicidal behaviours. This program is conducted at Westmead Hospital.

If you are interested in enrolling or implementing these programs in your clinical settings please contact us