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Adapted suicide safety plans to address self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicide behaviours in autistic adults: protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial

Rodgers, Jacqui; Goodwin, Jane; Nielsen, Emma; Bhattarai, Nawaraj; Heslop, Phil; Kharatikoopaei, Ehsan; O’Connor, Rory C.; Ogundimu, Emmanuel; Ramsay, Sheena E.; Steele, Katie; Townsend, Ellen; Vale, Luke; Walton, Emily; Wilson, Colin; Cassidy, Sarah

Adapted suicide safety plans to address self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicide behaviours in autistic adults: protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial Thumbnail


Authors

Jacqui Rodgers

Jane Goodwin

Emma Nielsen

Nawaraj Bhattarai

Phil Heslop

Rory C. O’Connor

Sheena E. Ramsay

Katie Steele

Ellen Townsend

Luke Vale

Emily Walton

Colin Wilson

Sarah Cassidy



Abstract

Background: Suicide prevention is a national priority for the UK government. Autistic people are at greater risk of experiencing self-harm and suicidal thoughts and behaviours than the general population. Safety plans are widely used in suicide prevention but have not yet been designed with and for autistic people. We developed the first safety plan specifically targeting suicidality in autistic adults: the Autism Adapted Safety Plan (AASP). It consists of a prioritised list of hierarchical steps that can be used prior to or during a crisis to mitigate risk of self-harm and suicidal behaviour. This is a pilot study that aims to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the AASPs and the research processes, including the response rates, potential barriers and reach of AASPs, methods of recruitment, what comprises usual care, and economic evaluation methods/tools. Methods: This is an external pilot randomised controlled trial of a suicide prevention tool aimed at mitigating the risk of self-harm and suicidal behaviour in autistic adults: AASPs. Participants will be assessed at baseline and followed up 1 month and 6 months later. Assessments include questions about self-harm, suicidality, service use, and their experience of the AASP/taking part in the study. Autistic adults who have a clinical autism diagnosis and self-reported history of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or suicidal behaviours within the last 6 months will be invited to take part in the study. Informed consent will be obtained. Participants will be recruited via community and third sector services (including community settings, autism charities, and mental health charities). They may also “self-refer” into the study through social media recruitment and word of mouth. Ninety participants will be randomised to either develop an AASP or receive their usual care in a 1:1 ratio. Discussion: The present study will provide an evaluation of the suitability of the processes that would be undertaken in a larger definitive study, including recruitment, randomisation, methods, questionnaires, outcome measures, treatment, and follow-up assessments. Trial registration: ISRCTN70594445, Protocol v4: 8/2/22.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 14, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date May 5, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 5, 2023
Journal Pilot and Feasibility Studies
Electronic ISSN 2055-5784
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1
Article Number 31
DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-023-01264-8
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1175088

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Copyright Statement
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.






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