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Aust N Z J Public Health. 1999 Oct;23(5):468-70.

Suicide rates in psychiatric in-patients: an application of record linkage to mental health research.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health, University of Western Australia, Nedlands. davidl@dph.uwa.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To study trends in the rate of suicide in psychiatric patients in Western Australia. To examine the associations of suicide with demographic and clinical factors.

METHODS:

A population-based cohort of 52,010 individuals whose first psychiatric admission occurred in 1980-95 was identified from the Health Services Research Linked Database. There were 471 deaths by suicide by 31 December 1995. Age standardised suicide rates per 1,000 person-years at risk were calculated. Suicide rates in the first year after a patient's first admission were also examined and a proportional hazards regression analysis was performed to examine risk factors for suicide.

RESULTS:

Male psychiatric patients were 3.4 times more likely to commit suicide than female patients (95% CI 2.76-4.24). Younger patients were at higher risk than older patients, and patients with extended periods of in-patient treatment were at more than double the risk of short-stay patients. Over the 16-year period, the rate of suicide in the first year after first psychiatric admission was found to increase by 3.4% a year (95% CI -0.7-7.6%).

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings confirm that psychiatric patients are at high risk of suicide. Patient outcomes in terms of risk of suicide after hospital discharge have deteriorated.

IMPLICATIONS:

Improvements are needed in the provision of community support to high risk psychiatric patients. Further work should be done to identify patients at highest risk of suicide.

PMID:
10575766
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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