Summary of findings from the pilot trial for this project:
- It is anticipated that more efficient screening methods will lead to better detection of mental health problems in the community. This study found that screening for mental health problems may be more efficient if a two-stage screening process is applied. Brief screening for general emotional problems followed by more lengthy assessment of specific mental health problems for those who are most likely to have mental health problems can improve the efficiency of screening by 20-60%.
- A new scale measuring suicidal thoughts was tested and found to be valid compared to an existing measure. The new scale suggests that there is a common component to suicidal thoughts, which means that people who have more frequent thoughts about suicide also experience more distress, have more difficulty controlling their thoughts and are impacted more strongly in their daily lives.
- Stigmatising attitudes towards people who die by suicide were found to be least common in women and younger adults. Knowledge about suicide prevention was found to be higher in women, people who have had some exposure to suicide, younger adults and people with tertiary education.
- Stigmatising attitudes to suicide and poor knowledge about suicide prevention were associated with more negative attitudes towards seeking help and lower intentions of seeking help.
- A theoretical model of suicidal behaviour was supported in the study, suggesting that people who do not feel a sense of belonging and perceive that they are a burden tend to have high rates of suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, individuals who reported both suicidal thoughts and little fear of death were more likely to report previous suicidal plans or attempts.
- Additional investigations of responses to the survey will explore the impact of coping behaviours, the relationship between sleep quality and mental health, and relationships between depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.