Large rise in suicide among male patients in mental health care

There has been a 29% rise among men who die by suicide while under the care of mental health services in the UK since 2006, a report by The University of Manchester’s National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH) out today shows.

During the report period, 2003-2013, the largest rise was seen in middle aged men 45-54 years old, where there has been a 73% increase since 2006, which may be driven by increases in risk factors such as alcohol and economic pressures.

Professor Louis Appleby, Director of NCISH, said: “Our findings show that within mental health care middle-aged men are particularly at risk. The problem is not simply that they don’t seek help – they are already under mental health care – so we have to understand better the stresses men in this age group face.”

The NCISH report, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership as part of the Clinical Outcome Review Programmes, also highlighted the rise in deaths among patients treated under Crisis Resolution or Home Treatment (CR/HT) services, introduced as an alternative to in-patient admission.

Suicides under CR/HT are now three times greater than the number of deaths occurring in mental health in-patient settings in England, with an estimated 226 deaths in 2013.

The number of suicide deaths following discharge from a non-local in-patient unit has also risen in recent years.

Professor Appleby, who is presenting the findings of the report to health professionals and service users and carers at a launch event on July 22 2015, said:

“Our findings suggest that the pressures facing mental health services are being seen mainly in the safety of home treatment and reduced availability of local beds. Commissioners and providers should review the safety of their acute services. In particular,acute admissions out of area should cease as they are likely to make care planning more difficult and increase suicide risk for patients at the time of discharge.”

Read the report @