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Title: Workplace exposure to suicide among Australian mental health workers: A mixed-methods study
Contributor(s): Sanford, Rebecca L (author); Hawker, Katelyn (author); Wayland, Sarah  (author)orcid ; Maple, Myfanwy  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2021-02
Early Online Version: 2020-09-04
DOI: 10.1111/inm.12783
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Abstract: Workplace exposure to suicide attempts and deaths has been widely recognized as an occupational hazard for mental health and social care workers, including mental health nurses. Research consistently demonstrates the adverse impact on professionals. This paper explores the results of an online survey examining suicide exposure and impact. Of the 3010 Australian adult participants who identified exposure to suicide attempts and/or deaths in a larger study, 130 indicated that the most impactful suicide attempt and/or death exposure was that of a client or service user. While distress levels were relatively low among participants with workplace exposure, the qualitative content from 53 participants provides illumination into this experience. Themes that emerged in the qualitative responses include impact on the professional, organization response, and lack of adequate resources and supports to prevent suicide. Previous research has examined the impact of suicide exposure among professionals specifically, but this is the first known study of participants in a community sample who identified the most impactful suicide attempt or death exposure they had experienced was that of a client in a mental health setting. Workplace exposure among mental health workers is common and can have both deleterious and positive effects. Bereavement focused outcomes, where the loss of an attachment relationship is the focus, does not capture the full range of experiences in workplace exposure. Systemic issues in mental health care contribute to further distress among exposed workers, and this requires additional investigation and response.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 30(1), p. 286-299
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1447-0349
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
111714 Mental Health
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 520302 Clinical psychology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 920209 Mental Health Services
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 200305 Mental health services
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Health

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