Psychiatric units safer as in-patient suicide falls

Suicides by psychiatric in-patients have fallen to a new low, research published today has found.

The study by the University of Manchester's National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and by People with Mental Illness, one of very few to look at trends over time, shows the rate of suicide among psychiatric in-patients fell by between 29% and 31% between 1997 and 2008 with nearly 100 fewer deaths per year.

The falls were seen across most groups of patients with the biggest falls in young patients and those with . On wards, deaths by hanging fell by nearly 60%.

But the research, published in the journal , also revealed that the risk of suicide for those recently discharged from hospital may have increased over the same time period. The number of suicide deaths in people under the care of specialist services such as crisis resolution teams also increased. However, the research team suggested that these increases in suicide did not explain the fall in in-patient suicide.

Lead author Nav Kapur, Professor of Psychiatry and at The University of Manchester, said: "The fall in among psychiatric in-patients since the late 90s has been a major success for in hospital services. Suicide rates have fallen faster than in the general population and against a backdrop where in-patients have had more complex needs. Increased awareness of risk, a safer ward environment and improved professional practice could be key factors in these positive trends.

"But, as in-patient services are now dealing with patients who may be more unwell than in the past, swift and effective support for people following discharge has become even more important. We also need to keep a careful watch on suicide in services and settings which are alternatives to in-patient admission."

More information: 'Psychiatric in-patient care and suicide in England, 1997 to 2008: a longitudinal study,' by N. Kapur, I. M. Hunt, K. Windfuhr, C. Rodway, R. Webb, M. S. Rahman, J. Shaw and L. Appleby, is published in Psychological Medicine.

Related Stories

Better NHS services reduce suicide rates

date Feb 01, 2012

Researchers at The University of Manchester have for the first time shown a positive link between improvements in mental health services and a reduction in suicide rates.

UK teen suicide rates on the decline

date Oct 23, 2008

Suicide rates in those aged 10-19 in the UK declined by 28% in the seven year period from 1997-2003, shows a study published today in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. The study, carried out by researchers at the ...

Homicide by mentally ill has risen in England and Wales

date Jul 28, 2009

The number of people killed by individuals suffering from mental illness in England and Wales increased between 1997 and 2005, figures released today show. The rise occurred in people who were not under mental health care ...

Recommended for you

Walking in nature found to reduce rumination

date 44 minutes ago

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers working at Stanford University has found that people walking in a "natural" environment tend to engage in less rumination. In their paper published in Proceedings of ...

Why are some children more giving than others?

date 2 hours ago

Parents and educators are acutely aware that children can be both excessively self-oriented and overwhelmingly generous. For every preschooler refusing to share his toy truck, there's an 8-year-old who insists ...

Longer acquaintance levels the romantic playing field

date 8 hours ago

Partners who become romantically involved soon after meeting tend to be more similar in physical attractiveness than partners who get together after knowing each other for a while, according to new findings ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.