Assessing and responding to suicide risk in children and young people: Understanding views and experiences of helpline staff

A. Jess Williams*, Juliane A. Kloess, Chloe Gill, Maria Michail

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Introduction: Suicide is a key issue impacting children and young people. Helplines offer unique benefits, such as anonymity, varied communication avenues and low cost, which help to promote help-seeking behaviour. The aim of this study was to explore the views and experiences of helpline organisations of identifying, assessing, and managing suicide risk among children and young people. Methods: Thirteen professionals from three UK-based helplines and online counselling services took part in semi-structured interviews between November 2020 and January 2021 via Zoom. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using Thematic Analysis. Results: Three superordinate themes were identified: (i) Starting conversations about suicide; (ii) Identifying and responding to “imminent” suicide risk; and (iii) Responses to suicide risk in relation to safeguarding. Limitations: Recruitment was limited by COVID-19 due to the demands needed from helplines at this time. Conclusions: Our findings highlight not only the different types and range of services helpline organisations offer to young people who might be at risk of suicide, but most importantly the distinct role they have in young people’s help-seeking pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10887
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • counselling
  • helplines
  • interviews
  • suicide
  • thematic analysis

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