Identifiying critical Chinese suicide risk factors: a Delphi method




Yu, Fangzhou

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The most recent data available to the general public suggests an average annual suicide rate of 287,000 Chinese from 1995 to 1999 (Philips & Yang, 2004). This number equates to approximately 786 suicides per day or one suicide every minute and a half. Despite these robust suicide numbers, there exists no standardized, face-to-face clinician assessment specifically created for use with Chinese. The purpose of this study is to identify critical suicide risk factors used by Chinese mental health professionals to successfully assess and intervene with suicidal Chinese. A Delphi method is utilized to obtain a consensus from a panel of eight Chinese suicide experts. After three survey rounds, Chinese suicide assessment and intervention experts collectively identified 17 critical Chinese suicide risk factors. These Chinese suicide risk factors include: depression, marital issues, psychological strain, hopelessness, emotional distress, loss of worthiness, mental disorders, impulsive personality disorder, passive attitudes towards life, suicide attitudes (e.g., using suicide as a means to solve or avoid problems), conflict (from family, marriage, finance, and cultural values), the lack of external resources (social support, and training on crisis coping skills), anger, age, region (rural/urban), generalized anxiety disorder, and sex. Besides the 17 identified risk factors, the researcher summarized four themes from the final results. There are family, rural female suicides, medical model lens, and professional mental health resources lacking. Two cultural-specific clinician-based suicide assessment tools were created to assist Chinese clinicians in elevating suicide risk, a Mandarin Jingle and an English mnemonic for clinicians in Hong Kong.


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Chinese, Delphi, Risk factor, Suicide