Warning: This article has not yet been accepted for publication by a peer reviewed journal. It is presented here mainly for the benefit of fellow researchers. Casual readers should not act on its findings, and journalists should be wary of reporting them.
clinmed/2003040007v1 (February 25, 2004)
Contact author(s) for copyright information
First round analysis of the confidential inquiry into homicides and suicides by mentally ill people in Leeds, UK.
Aim: to explore characteristics of suicide cases with a psychiatric record.
Background: In 1992, in the UK, following consultations with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the confidential inquiry into homicides and suicides by mentally ill people was set up by the Department of Health. The inquiry collects detailed information on contact with secondary mental health services by means of a questionnaire from clinical audit or information departments from these organisations.
Methodology: In Leeds, however, a wider range of available records including Coroner Reports, police, social, educational and all health records were consulted. This resulted in a series of health/life event histories of suicide cases that had been in contact with psychiatric services. This paper presents an exploratory analysis of a these data.
Results: The Leeds suicide cases formed only one-third of all suicide cases in Leeds the remainder two-third had not come into contact with psychiatric services; this proportion is consistent with the UK national figures. 46% of the sample’s first contact with the psychiatric services was through a first failed attempted suicide. Other results include the role of prescribed drugs in repeat suicide attempts, education levels and employment stability.
Conclusion: The link between mental illness and suicide is questionable. Life event history type data on all suicide cases is desperately required to study suicide as a social process.