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Suicide among Psychiatric Inpatients

Large, M., Smith, G., Sharma, S., Neilssen, O., & Singh, S. (2011). Systematic review and meta-analysis of the clinical factors associated with the suicide of psychiatric in-patients. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01672.x

An international team conducted a meta-analysis of 29 controlled studies of suicide risk among psychiatric inpatients. The authors concluded that the best approach for managing risks in psychiatric hospitals “would appear to lie in improved psychiatric care and communications and in measures to reduce the opportunities to commit suicide while in hospital and not on the risk assessment of individual patients.” In addition to calling into question some of the factors reported to be associated with suicide risk by individual studies, the meta-analysis revealed a tendency among researchers to refrain from reporting on factors that lacked an association with suicide.

The authors suggest that given the extreme difficulty of assessing which psychiatric patients will attempt suicide and the impulsive nature of many of these incidents, psychiatric hospitals should focus their suicide prevention efforts on modifying the environment to deprive patients of suicide opportunities (especially hanging), improving communications about and supervision of patients in acute distress, and improving psychiatric care itself.

Read the article at www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com.