The HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) and Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) have continued partnership initiatives in alignment with specific objectives and actions in Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide.
The ICGP is the professional body for general practice in Ireland. The College’s primary aim is to serve the patient and the general practitioner by encouraging and maintaining the highest standards of general medical practice.
It is widely accepted that the role of the GP is incredibly important in recognising and providing the necessary treatment to individuals who may be at risk of suicide. While GP trainees are taught to conduct clinical suicide risk assessments as part of their training, there have been identified needs to include a stronger focus on mental health and suicide prevention across the programme of continuing education that the ICGP offers.
ICGP Education Webinars
During 2020 and with the onset of Covid19, the ICGP delivery of a series of weekly webinars has become an important mechanism to support GPs and trainees on a wide range of topics. Webinars are delivered live and up to 2,500 attend every week. Each live webinar attracts 1 external CPD credit for all who register and consume the learning content.
The series has included the addition of new webinars on: Dealing with patients with suicidal ideation and/or self-harm; Triaging patients with suicidal ideation and/or self-harm; Diagnosing and managing early psychosis in General Practice, and; Managing the aftermath when patients die by suicide. Early Episode Psychosis also featured as a key topic in the ICGP Winter Meeting 2020 Virtual Conference (General Practice – Managing Uncertainty, Preparing for the Future) on 7th November 2020.
GP Gatekeeper Training
The ICGP and the NOSP continue to collaborate on the delivery of gatekeeper suicide prevention training to all GPs in training. Level One training is delivered by 4 Mental Health, who are providers in a Train the Trainer model. These trained GPs, paired with other healthcare professionals, deliver Level Two training to GPs through faculty and CME small group networks.
Over 600 GPs have now been trained to date. An independent evaluation currently underway, aims to establish the benefits of having GPs trained in the recognition and management of suicide risk in this way and how this will help to improve the standardisation of care for those at risk of suicide.
- The ICGP/NOSP partnership and related activities specifically support Connecting for Life action 3.1.5, to “provide and sustain training to health and social care professionals, including frontline mental health service staff and primary care health providers. This training will improve recognition of, and response to, suicide risk and suicidal behaviour among people vulnerable to suicide.”
- For more information the range of ICGP Education Webinars, visit the ICGP website.