Suicide-related research is important to be conducted in the area of forensic psychology to determine the risks associated with suicidal behaviors in patients with mental disabilities. Thus, suicide-related research is significant to provide the grounds for developing the prevention strategies by specialists working in clinical settings (Stangor, 2013, p. 138). From this point, to identify the approaches and strategies that can be appropriate for the use by forensic psychology professionals to prevent suicides, it is necessary to review the relevant research in the field and analyze it with the focus on the factor of applicability.
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In their research, Becker, Brown, Ochshorn, and Diamond studied the rates and causes of suicides among Florida Medicaid enrollees who also had the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The researchers focused on reviewing the Florida Medicaid files to study the demographic and diagnostic information related to persons who committed suicides in 2002 and on reviewing the information on hospitalization. As a result, according to the lists in the Florida Medicaid files, 261 persons committed suicides in 2002, and the researchers also focused on determining the participants of the control group to compare and support the results of the study (Becker, Brown, Ochshorn, & Diamond, 2009, p. 173). The collected demographic and diagnostic data were analyzed with the help of the logistic regression analyses to determine the factors that could be discussed as predictors of suicides in Florida Medicaid enrollees with the SSI.
As a result of the study, it was found that the involuntary psychiatric examination, use of physical health medications, participation in high mental health service, and mental health hospitalization are the main factors to predict suicides among the determined population (Becker et al., 2009, p. 176). The researchers proposed to decrease psychiatric examinations that are involuntary and reduce the number of psychiatric hospitalizations as well as to improve risk assessment strategies and approaches to providing physical health medications.
The results of the research by Becker et al. (2009) can be discussed as applicable to clinical forensic settings in terms of using proposed methods and strategies to contribute to reductions of suicide rates in a clinical forensic setting. In this context, a forensic psychology professional can refer to the methods of the research while planning the suicide-related research in any forensic field to support certain hypotheses. While referring to the practice, it is possible to apply the results of the study while concluding about the involuntary psychiatric hospitalization and involuntary psychiatric examinations of patients. A forensic psychology professional can focus on choosing the most effective risk assessment method and consider the impact of involuntary examination and involuntary hospitalization on the patients’ suicidal behaviors (Crighton & Towl, 2015, p. 54). The research by Becker et al. (2009) is important to accentuate the role of ineffective assessments on risks of suicides and further decisions to affect the behavior of impoverished and persons with mental disabilities. In this context, while working with impoverished and mentally ill persons, a forensic psychology professional should choose the most effective risk assessment strategies and make supported decisions on involuntary examination and involuntary hospitalization because of the possible risk of suicide in these patients.
From this point, the discussed research article provides important information on risks associated with suicidal behaviors among impoverished persons and persons with mental disabilities who can be exposed to voluntary psychiatric evaluation, involuntary psychiatric evaluation, and suicide risk evaluation.
Becker, M., Brown, L., Ochshorn, E., & Diamond, R. (2009). Risk for suicide among Medicaid beneficiaries. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 39(2), 172-181.
Crighton, D., & Towl, G. (2015). Forensic psychology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
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Stangor, C. (2013). Research methods for the behavioral sciences. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.