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J Clin Psychiatry. 2019 Feb 12;80(2). pii: 18m12172. doi: 10.4088/JCP.18m12172.

Suicide Immediately After Discharge From Psychiatric Inpatient Care: A Cohort Study of Nearly 2.9 Million Discharges.

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Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Centre for Psychiatry Research Stockholm, Box 4044, 141 04 Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Centre for Psychiatry Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
School of Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.



The risk of suicide is elevated after discharge from a psychiatric hospital. This study aimed to investigate how recent suicidal behavior affects the risk of suicide in patients with different psychiatric diagnoses immediately after discharge.


Registers with national coverage were linked to create a study cohort including all individuals discharged from psychiatric hospitals in Sweden from 1973 through 2009. Hazard ratios for discharge diagnoses were calculated. The risk of suicide within 30 days after discharge in each diagnostic category when suicidal behavior had been registered within 30 days before admission was estimated.


A total of 3,695 suicides occurred after 2,883,088 discharges. If recent suicidal behavior was registered, the risk of completed suicide increased prominently in all diagnostic categories, but particularly for schizophrenia (hazard ratio [HR] = 8.9; 95% CI, 6.4-12.4) and other nonorganic psychosis (HR = 6.8; 95% CI, 5.1-9.0). Patients suffering from depression had the highest overall risk of suicide postdischarge (HR = 3.0; 95% CI, 2.7-3.3). This finding applied especially to male patients with depression (HR = 4.5; 95% CI, 4.0-5.0) or with reaction to crisis (HR = 3.6; 95% CI 3.0-4.4).


A distinct elevation of the risk of suicide was seen in all diagnostic groups if a recent self-harm event had occurred, particularly among patients with psychotic disorders. Overall, the immediate risk of suicide after discharge was high regardless of recent suicidal behavior. The findings in this study have relevance for clinical decisions about immediate after-care and treatment in connection with discharge from psychiatric inpatient care.

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