Identifying a probable suicide cluster in an acute care psychiatric hospital in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

South African Journal of Psychiatry

Field Value
Title Identifying a probable suicide cluster in an acute care psychiatric hospital in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
Creator Jacobs, Ruwayda Grobler, Christoffel Strumpher, Johanita
Subject Psychiatry patient suicide; psychiatric hospital; suicide clustering; mental health team; psychiatric nurses
Description Background: Two young male patients who were diagnosed with drug-induced psychosis committed suicide in a psychiatric hospital in South Africa within a month of each other. The psychiatric nurses working in the hospital had never before had to deal with a similar trauma of suicide cluster.Aim: To assess the psychiatric nurses’ experiences of suicide cluster in an inpatient psychiatric setting.Setting: A psychiatric hospital in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.Method: A qualitative design was used. The research population consisted of psychiatric nurses who were purposively selected. Data were gathered using in-depth interviews where the participants narrated their experiences of the incidents. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and the data was coded using descriptive and explanatory codes. Trustworthiness was ensured. Ethical principles of justice, autonomy, beneficence and non-maleficence were ensured.Results: An attempt was made to compare the suicides of two patients with the characteristics of cluster suicide to determine if clustering took place. Two young males committed suicide in an institutional setting within a month of each other. Other characteristics present included using the same method, in the same venue and in the same unit. They had similar educational and social backgrounds. The second victim knew the first victim and was aware of what happened.Conclusion: When the two events are analysed together it would seem as if clustering did occur. The suicide victims knew each other and victim number 2 was aware of the facts of the first suicide. They were in their early 20’s, were mentally ill and committed suicide in the same site, using the same method and were both institutionalised at the time. Members of the mental healthcare team should be made aware of the characteristics of clustering so that when a suicide attempt occurs in a place where mentally-ill individuals are cared for, measures can be put in place to prevent another patient from copying such an event.
Publisher AOSIS
Date 2021-04-19
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Qualitative
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v27i0.1646
Source South African Journal of Psychiatry; Vol 27 (2021); 5 pages 2078-6786 1608-9685
Language eng
Coverage Eastern Cape 2015 Age; Registered Nurses
Rights Copyright (c) 2021 Ruwayda Jacobs, Christoffel Grobler, Johanita Strumpher