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17 Oct 2022

Diabetes healthcare professionals should be given more training around suicide and self harm

Diabetes healthcare professionals should be given more training around suicide and self harm

Calls have been made in America for healthcare professionals working in diabetes care to be given more training about suicide and self-harm.

The RESCUE Collaborative Community is an FDA-approved group which has been carrying out research into reducing rates of intended self-injury and suicide among people with diabetes.

Suicide is the leading cause of death among people aged from 20 to 34 and the second leading cause of death in adolescents aged from 15 to 19.

Depression has also been diagnosed in 7 per cent to 25 per cent of the populations in the United States and Europe.

However, people with type 1 diabetes have a two to three times higher prevalence of depression and approximately double the rate of suicide compared to the general population.

Rates of self-harm and suicide among people with diabetes are likely to be considerably underestimated due to poor identification.

During a recent study, the RESCUE team questioned more than 110 healthcare professionals on depression rates and suicide prevalence within the diabetes community.

More than 70 per cent of respondents self-reported cases of attempted suicide amongst their patients with diabetes, with most reporting that it was due to the burden of continuous glucose control.

According to RESCUE, regulatory bodies, advocacy groups, healthcare professionals, industry groups, and academics need to work on multi-faceted solutions that will be needed to address this issue.

RESCUE is the first group of its kind that is working to reduce suicide rates in people with diabetes and will be publishing data from the survey shortly.

RESCUE will also be utilising machine learning to identify patterns associated with predicting risk using electronic health data, producing educational videos and content to help increase awareness and risk assessment processes, and hopes to work with national and international registries to improve coding of events to ensure the data is being captured properly.

Additionally, tools will be designed, studied and implemented in the clinical setting for identification and reduction of risk, and to improve awareness and understanding of the factors associated with self-harm and suicide and provide appropriate support resources.

To get involved in the work of the RESCUE Collaborative Community email Professor Barnard-Kelly on Katharinebarnard@bhrltd.com

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