Study protocol for a mixed methods prospective cohort study to explore experiences of care following a suicidal crisis in the Australian healthcare system

Hannah Rosebrock, Nicola Chen, Michelle Tye, Andrew McKinnon, Alison L. Calear, Philip J. Batterham, Myfanwy Maple, Victoria-Mae Rasmussen, Liz Schroeder, Henry Cutler, Fiona Shand

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: For individuals presenting to the emergency department (ED) for a suicide attempt, the period after discharge from hospital is marked by heightened vulnerability for further suicide attempts. Effective care following a suicidal crisis has the potential to significantly decrease this risk. The current study aims to examine the impact of the LifeSpan multilevel suicide prevention model on experiences of care following a suicidal crisis. Perspectives from healthcare consumers (individuals who have presented to the ED following a suicidal crisis), carers, and health professionals will be explored. The LifeSpan model is currently being evaluated as a high-fidelity trial in four geographically defined regions in New South Wales, Australia.

Methods and analysis This study will use a mixed methods prospective cohort design. Quantitative data collection includes a structured survey, administered to healthcare consumers from LifeSpan sites and control sites. Two cohorts of healthcare consumers will be recruited 12 months apart with baseline assessment occurring within 18 months of the ED presentation, and follow-up 12 months after the initial assessment. Survey participants will be recruited online and through participating EDs, mental health organisations and aftercare services. Qualitative interview data from healthcare consumers, carers who have accompanied a loved one to the ED following a suicidal crisis and health professionals who provide care to people at risk of suicide will be collected concurrently with the recruitment of the first cohort of survey participants. Purposive and convenience sampling techniques will be used for recruitment of interview participants. The primary outcome for this study will be healthcare consumers’ experiences of service provided at the ED. Analysis will be undertaken of the change over time within LifeSpan sites, as well as between LifeSpan sites and control sites, using mixed effects repeated measures models as principal means of data analysis.

Ethics and dissemination This research has been approved by the Hunter New England Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/17/HNE/144). Results will be disseminated via conferences and peer-reviewed journals.

Trial registration number ACTRN12617000457347.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere033814
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • accident & emergency medicine
  • mental health
  • suicide & self-harm


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