Psychiatric units safer as in-patient suicide falls

May 16, 2012

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."

Explore further: Better NHS services reduce suicide rates

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

February 1, 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.

Recommended for you

Where belief in free will is linked to happiness

January 23, 2017

Western and Asian cultures tend to have different core beliefs around free will. In a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology, Jingguang Li, professor at Dali University, and his research team show the link between ...

Study reveals areas of the brain impacted by PTSD

January 23, 2017

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and the VA Boston Healthcare System are one step closer to understanding the specific nature of brain changes associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

For health and happiness, share good news

January 22, 2017

Service members, including both active and recently separated, have been called upon to fight overseas and to assist during natural disasters at home. They can face unique challenges when they return in both the workplace ...

0 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.