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 patients 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.
|Journal||Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|