Early Post-Discharge Suicide in Mental Health Patients: Findings From a National Clinical Survey

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Abstract

Studies on suicide by recently discharged mental health patients have reported a high number of deaths in the early post-discharge period, which has led to recommendations of follow-up within 7 days (d). More recently, the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) proposed a more “stringent” follow-up period of 2–3 days (d) after discharge. Patients who died within this early time-frame post-discharge were more likely to die before the follow-up appointment occurred. They more often had a primary diagnosis of a personality disorder, self-discharged, and had a higher frequency of death by jumping from a height or in front of the vehicle compared to later deaths. This study provides practical implications for post-discharge management and safety planning. Clinicians should be aware of (1) the increased risk of immediate suicide in the post-discharge period by people with a diagnosis of personality disorder, (2) immediate suicide risk in patients who initiate their own discharge, and (3) the increased risk of death by jumping from a height or in front of the vehicle in the immediate post-discharge period. Our findings support the recent recommendation from NCISH that follow-up should occur within 3 d of discharge from in-patient care.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number502
Pages (from-to)502
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2020

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