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"Quite simply they don't communicate': a case study of a National Health Service response to staff suicide.

Luce, A., Turner, G., Kennedy, L. and Bush-Evans, R. D., 2024. "Quite simply they don't communicate': a case study of a National Health Service response to staff suicide. Medical Humanities, 50 (1), 116-124.

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DOI: 10.1136/medhum-2023-012722


Workplace suicide can have significant knock-on effects within an organisation, yet research has shown within the healthcare profession, not all staff receive suicide prevention training, and few employers take the time to reflect on the need to change workplace policies or practices following the death of a staff member to suicide. How staff suicide is communicated across an organisation and to family members is important. Effective crisis communication is critical for effective management for a timely and sensitive response to a staff suicide within an organisation. By doing so, workplaces can help to reduce the significant emotional trauma suicide can have on an employee, and support good mental health across its workforce. This study aimed to explore and understand the communication processes around staff suicide across a National Health Service (NHS) Trust and to provide recommendations based on these findings. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 29 participants, each lasting approximately 90 min. The Consolidated criteria for Reporting Qualitative research guidelines were followed. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data, resulting in seven themes being identified based on communication. Findings indicated that the Trust had no clear communication strategy in place for tackling staff suicide. Each suicide was handled differently, training across staff roles was lacking and operational procedures were deemed insensitive. This paper aimed to provide insight into the communication strategies used in the aftermath of a staff suicide. These findings highlight the inconsistency of the communication, lack of clear policy and guidance and the negative impact this had on staff. Further research is needed across NHS Trusts nationwide to gain insight into the current communication strategies in place to develop a national approach to clear communication following the death of an NHS worker to suicide.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:NHS; Suicide; Workplace; Suicide Prevention; Communication
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:39368
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:10 Jan 2024 10:51
Last Modified:30 May 2024 11:08


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