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Psychiatry Res. 2010 May 30;177(3):305-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2010.03.013. Epub 2010 Apr 21.

Sudden death among young people with first-episode psychosis: An 8-10 year follow-up study.

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Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, 35 Poplar Road, Parkville Victoria 3052, Melbourne, Australia.


Individuals with first episode psychosis (FEP) experience high rates of premature mortality, in particular due to suicide. The study aims were to: a) Estimate the rate of sudden death among young people with FEP during an 8-10 year period following commencement of treatment; b) Examine and describe the socio-demographic and clinical characteristics associated with sudden death; and c) Examine the timing of death in relation to psychiatric treatment.This was a cohort study. The sample comprised 661 patients accepted into treatment at the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre between 1/1/1998 and 31/12/2000. Demographic and clinical data were collected by examination of the medical files. Mortality data were collected via a search of the National Coroners Information System; the Victorian State Coroner's office and clinical files. Nineteen patients died and just over two thirds of deaths were classified as intentional self-harm or suicide. Death was associated with male gender, previous suicide attempt and greater symptom severity at last contact. People with FEP are at increased risk of premature death, in particular suicide. A previous suicide attempt was very common amongst those who died, suggesting that future research could focus upon the development of interventions for young people with FEP who engage in suicidal behaviour.

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