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Early detection of risk – Suicide and the relationship with mental disorders

Early intervention for mental health issues is important in maximising the wellbeing of patients.6 On average, GPs see more than 80% of the population each year.5 Therefore, the primary care setting is the ideal place for mental health issues to be detected and responded to, the risk to be assessed, and for people to seek help as early as possible to prevent mental health issues and disorders leading to suicide.

It is important that GPs have the knowledge and skills to recognise when a patient might be experiencing mental health issues and to investigate whether they might be at risk of suicide. Undertaking regular mental health education and training is vital to ensuring your skills and knowledge are up to date.

Access the GPMHSC website for accredited education and training.

In the next section you will find useful information and further reading about the specific risk factors for suicide, one of which is mental disorders. Also included are some specific warning signs that might indicate someone is thinking about suicide. 


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian social trends, March, 2011. Cat. no. 4102.0. Canberra: ABS, 2011.  [Accessed 13 January 2016].
  2. Carey M, Jones K, Meadows G, et al. Accuracy of general practitioner unassisted detection of depression. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2014;48(6):571–78.


Suicide prevention and first aid a resource for GPs