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IASP Special Interest Group - National Systems for Certifying Suicidal Deaths

Rationale:

Suicide statistics are a central focus for all involved in suicide research and prevention, yet many of us have limited knowledge of the systems and procedures that generate these statistics. As a consequence, we may be unaware of issues that would affect our interpretation and use of suicide statistics. Also, under-reporting is a common problem which needs to be recognized and rectified if possible.

Objectives:

  1. To keep an update of suicide statistics among members of IASP.
  2. To identify possible problem and challenge in some of the existing systems.
  3. To inform good practices of national system in recording and monitoring suicides.

Plans for 2016:

  1. To establish how we can best explain how suicides are tabulated in national database/vital registry systems.
  2. To provide support and advice to our member countries on the ascertainment of the recording system.
  3. To keep an update of the latest suicide statistics which is supported by members of IASP in various countries.

We are looking for people who are interested in working with us to progress this very important work. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact the SIG Co-Chairs.

Co-chair contact details:
Professor. Paul Yip: sfpyip@hku.hk.

Prof Paul Yip

Prof. Yip is the Director of the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention and a professor of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong. He is the vice president of International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) 2009-2013. He won the Stengel Research award for his contribution for suicide prevention in 2011. His current interests are in adopting a public health approach in suicide prevention especially, restriction of means, cost-effectiveness of suicide prevention, program evaluation of evidence-based suicide prevention programs.


Short-term and Long-term Goals

Invitation

IASP members are invited to draft descriptions of their national systems. The Irish system of death registration and cause of death classification is made available on this website (see: Inquest Study Technical Report System Description) as a guide and template for such descriptions, which can be sent to the chair of the Task Force.

Chair

Prof. Paul Yip


Restructuring the External Causes of Injury Chapter for ICD-11

By now, we may all have become accustomed to the change from 2010 to 2011. However, there is another 'twenty-ten' to 'twenty-eleven' change to which it may be far more difficult for the suicidology community to become accustomed. I am referring to the planned restructuring of Chapter 20 (External Causes of Injury) of ICD-10 for the update to ICD-11. As mentioned by IASP President Lanny Berman in the last News Bulletin, it is proposed to reduce the current priority given to the coding of Intent.

The World Health Organization convened the Injuries and External Causes Topic Advisory Group which established a number of work groups leading to the production of a Background and Issues document and a Recommendations Paper. These highlighted some important issues needing to be addressed, for example, the need for better criteria for coding intentional self-harm and the underestimation of intentional self-harm because 'accidental' is sometimes the default where there are problems determining intent. Unfortunately, the difficulty in establishing intent is one of the reasons behind the recommendation to prioritise the coding of mechanism and object over intent.

Currently, ICD-10 requires coders to first choose which of six intents applied to the event (accidental, intentional self-harm, assault, undetermined, legal intervention or medical complication). Coders must then choose the mechanism involved (e.g. drowning, poisoning, fall, etc.) and then, where applicable, choose the object that was involved (e.g. sharp object, firearm, motor vehicle, etc.).

The proposal for ICD-11 is that the order of coding be Mechanism-Object-Intent. Therefore, coders will choose from a list of dozens of mechanisms then identify the class, category and type of object involved (as up to 1000 objects may be specified) and then assign intent. Prioritising the detailed coding of object over the coding of intent is almost certainly going to impact negatively on the completeness and quality of intentional self-harm data. We are all aware of the issues related to data quality in suicidology and we need to do what we can to prevent changes to ICD that will further compromise data quality.

The suicidology community are underrepresented on the groups associated with the proposed recommendations and therefore it is important that the IASP membership make its voice heard. Comments and requests for further information can be addressed to Dr Paul Corcoran using the form below.

Dr Paul Corcoran, Chair Task Force on National Systems for Certifying Suicidal Deaths. National Suicide Research Foundation, Cork, Ireland.

Resources:

IASP News Bulletin - Oct/Nov 2010

WHO - Programmes and Projects - Classifications: ICD Revision Topic Advisory Groups


Please use the form below to send in your comments in relation to proposed changes for ICD 11.


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