Improved safety measures by mental health service providers help to reduce suicide rates

November 27, 2013, University of Manchester

Mental health service providers looking after patients at risk of suicide need to reduce absconding on in-patient wards and boost specialist community services like crisis resolution to reduce deaths, a report by The University of Manchester out today (28 November) shows.

Improved treatments are also needed for patients who have illness and drug or alcohol misuse (dual diagnosis) as well as for those with depression.

Researchers from the University's National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH), commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership on behalf of the NHS England, the Health Department of the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, DHSSPS Northern Ireland and the Channel Island, examined patient suicide and the impact of services changes made by mental health service providers across the UK between 1997 and 2011.

They looked at 17 key recommendations and service changes in relation to suicide rates. Mental health service providers which had implemented more than 10 recommendations for service change had lower suicide rates than those that implemented 10 or fewer.

The top five changes mental health service providers could make to reduce suicide were:

  • Provide specialist community services such as crisis resolution/home treatment, assertive outreach and services for patients with dual diagnosis;
  • Implement National Institute for Health and clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance on depression;
  • Share information with criminal justice agencies;
  • Ensure physical safety and reduce absconding on in-patient wards;
  • Create a learning culture based on multi-disciplinary review.

Professor Louis Appleby, Director of the National Confidential Inquiry, said: "We found that the implementation of service changes and recommendations was associated with lower patient suicide rates in mental health service providers.

"This shows that there are positive steps all providers can make. Providing specialist community services for patients is particularly important for trusts to implement."

Professor Nav Kapur, from the University's Centre for Suicide Prevention based in the Centre for Mental Health and Risk one of the leading centres for research into suicidal behaviour internationally, said: "It is vital not to lose the benefits of the last 10 years.

This study identifies service changes that seem to work in preventing suicide. Equally, it seems to suggest that might wish to maintain specialist services for people who don't engage or have a dual diagnosis."

The four UK countries, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, have a national initiative which includes the need to review health service strategies for suicide prevention and improve treatment of mental disorder, improved access to services and better aftercare.

The NCISH team hope their latest findings will lead to increased implementation of national guidelines and recommendations.

The findings follow a study published by the National Confidential Inquiry earlier this year which showed suicides among mental health patients increased with the current economic difficulties a likely factor.

The findings, reported in the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCI) produced by The University of Manchester, suggested more needed to be done to help mental health patients with debts, housing and employment. The research team says safety efforts need to focus on patients receiving home treatment where there has been a rise in deaths in recent years as there are now twice as many suicides under home treatment as in inpatient care.

Explore further: Homicide by mentally ill falls, but patient suicide rises in England

Related Stories

Homicide by mentally ill falls, but patient suicide rises in England

July 3, 2013
The number of people killed by mental health patients has fallen to its lowest level in a decade—figures released today show.

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.

Call to improve safety of home treatment for mental health patients

July 11, 2012
Deaths by suicide among mental health patients treated at home have reached 150 to 200 a year in England, latest national figures reveal – but suicides among patients on mental health wards continue to fall.

Patient suicide and homicide risk often missed, say researchers

June 26, 2013
The assessment of risk in patients who go on to die by suicide or commit homicide is often poor, a new study has found.

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.

Alcohol blamed for high suicide rates in Northern Ireland

June 29, 2011
Alcohol and drugs are fuelling homicide and suicide rates in Northern Ireland, a new independent report by University of Manchester researchers has found, with alcohol appearing to be a key factor for the country's higher ...

Recommended for you

People with prosthetic arms less affected by common illusion

January 22, 2018
People with prosthetic arms or hands do not experience the "size-weight illusion" as strongly as other people, new research shows.

Intensive behavior therapy no better than conventional support in treating teenagers with antisocial behavior

January 19, 2018
Research led by UCL has found that intensive and costly multisystemic therapy is no better than conventional therapy in treating teenagers with moderate to severe antisocial behaviour.

Babies' babbling betters brains, language

January 18, 2018
Babies are adept at getting what they need - including an education. New research shows that babies organize mothers' verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction, and infant babbling is the key.

Inherited IQ can increase in early childhood

January 18, 2018
When it comes to intelligence, environment and education matter – more than we think.

College branding makes beer more salient to underage students

January 18, 2018
In recent years, major beer companies have tried to capitalize on the salience of students' university affiliations, unveiling marketing campaigns and products—such as "fan cans," store displays, and billboard ads—that ...

Modulating molecules: Study shows oxytocin helps the brain to modulate social signals

January 17, 2018
Between sights, sounds, smells and other senses, the brain is flooded with stimuli on a moment-to-moment basis. How can it sort through the flood of information to decide what is important and what can be relegated to the ...

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.