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PubMed | University of Hong Kong, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and 4 United Christian Hospital
Type: | Journal: Crisis | Year: 2016

Studies have shown that postdischarge care for self-harm patients is effective in reducing repeated suicidal behaviors. Little is known about whether volunteer support can help reduce self-harm repetition and improve psychosocial well-being.This study investigated the efficacy of volunteer support in preventing repetition of self-harm.This study used a quasi-experimental design by assigning self-harm patients admitted to the emergency departments to an intervention group with volunteer support and treatment as usual (TAU) for 9 months and to a control group of TAU. Outcome measures include repetition of self-harm, suicidal ideation, hopelessness, and level of depressive and anxiety symptoms.A total of 74 cases were recruited (38 participants; 36 controls). There were no significant differences in age, gender, and clinical condition between the two groups at the baseline. The intervention group showed significant improvements in hopelessness and depressive symptoms. However, the number of cases of suicide ideation and of repetition of self-harm episodes was similar for both groups at the postintervention period.Postdischarge care provided by volunteers showed significant improvement in hopelessness and depression. Volunteers have been commonly involved in suicide prevention services. Further research using rigorous methods is recommended for improving service quality in the long term.

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