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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 49 (2007) 3, 157 - 165

New research

Guidelines in Dutch mental health institutions for dealing with persons attempting suicide

B. Verwey, J.A. van Waarde, I.A.L.M. van Rooij, G. Gerritsen, F.G. Zitman

background Attempted suicide is a frequent occurrence, even in mental health institutions (mhis). The World Health Organization strongly supports the development and implementation of guidelines for dealing with cases of attempted suicide in mhis.
aim To check on the existence, content and quality of guidelines for dealing with persons attempting suicide within mhis in the Netherlands and to compare these guidelines with those available in university and general hospitals.
method A questionnaire was sent to all mhis. Criteria for assessing the content of existing guidelines were derived from the literature. The quality of the guidelines was then assessed on the basis of the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (agree), a tool developed to evaluate guideline quality.
results Thirty-eight out of 48 (72.2%) psychiatric institutions responded, giving us access to 12 sets of guidelines. The content and quality of these guidelines were compared with the content and quality of the guidelines available in university and general hospitals; there were several differences, but on the whole the mhi-guidelines were better.
conclusion Guidelines were only available in a limited number of mhis. Most of the guidelines were adequate with regard to content, but some of the mhi-guidelines lacked some important elements. The quality of the mhi-guidelines was rather low but nevertheless better that that of the hospital guidelines.



keywords guidelines, mental health institutions, attempted suicide