Irish coroners’ attitudes towards suicide and its prevention
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- Farrow, R., Arensman, E., Corcoran, P. et al. Ir J Med Sci (2009) 178: 61. doi:10.1007/s11845-008-0261-9
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Coroners routinely enquire into suicide deaths and communicate with people bereaved by suicide. However, no research has been conducted into coroners’ attitudes towards suicide and its prevention.
We assessed attitudes towards suicide among Irish coroners in order to determine their understanding of suicide and its prevention.
An internationally validated questionnaire assessing attitudes towards suicide was sent to all coroners in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Sixty completed questionnaires (response 62%) were analysed. Overall, the coroners’ responses reflected openness towards communication about suicide and suicide prevention initiatives. Approximately, one in five favoured the attitudes that suicide is a right or that it may be a justifiable resolution. Only 23% agreed that people who die by suicide are usually mentally ill.
Irish coroners favour communication about suicide and have a positive attitude towards its prevention but they appear to underestimate the prevalence of mental illness.