Suicide and death by other causes among patients with a severe mental illness: cohort study comparing risks among patients discharged from inpatient care v. those treated in the community
Rebecca Musgrove, Matthew J Carr, Nav Kapur, Carolyn A Chew-Graham, Faraz Mughal, Darren M Ashcroft, Roger T Webb(2022)
Suicide and death by other causes among patients with a severe mental illness: cohort study comparing risks among patients discharged from inpatient care v. those treated in the community.
Epidemiology and psychiatric sciences, doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796022000075
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People diagnosed with a severe mental illness (SMI) are at elevated risk of dying prematurely compared to the general population. We aimed to understand the additional risk among people with SMI after discharge from inpatient psychiatric care, when many patients experience an acute phase of their illness.
In the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) GOLD and Aurum datasets, adults aged 18 years and older who were discharged from psychiatric inpatient care in England between 2001 and 2018 with primary diagnoses of SMI (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, other psychoses) were matched by age and gender with up to five individuals with SMI and without recent hospital stays. Using survival analysis approaches, cumulative incidence and adjusted hazard ratios were estimated for all-cause mortality, external and natural causes of death, and suicide. All analyses were stratified by younger, middle and older ages and also by gender.
In the year after their discharge, the risk of dying by all causes examined was higher than among individuals with SMI who had not received inpatient psychiatric care recently. Suicide risk was 11.6 times (95% CI 6.4–20.9) higher in the first 3 months and remained greater at 2–5 years after discharge (HR 2.3, 1.7–3.2). This risk elevation remained after adjustment for self-harm in the 6 months prior to the discharge date. The relative risk of dying by natural causes was raised in the first 3 months (HR 1.6, 1.3–1.9), with no evidence of elevation during the second year following discharge.
There is an additional risk of death by suicide and natural causes for people with SMI who have been recently discharged from inpatient care over and above the general risk among people with the same diagnosis who have not recently been treated as an inpatient. This mortality gap shows the importance of continued focus, following discharge, on individuals who require inpatient care.
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- Rebecca Musgrove
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