Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Inquest verdicts: youth suicides lost

  • Helen Gosney (a1) and Keith Hawton (a2)
Abstract
Aims and Method

To investigate how much reliance on suicide verdicts underestimates probable suicides. All unnatural deaths of those 8–18 years of age in West Yorkshire during a 6-year period were identified from the death register. Deaths which had verdicts other than killed him- or herself and were not obviously accidental were reviewed by a panel of three consultant child and adolescent psychiatrists to determine whether they were probable suicides.

Results

Of 40 deaths reviewed by the panel, 13 were identified as probable suicides, of which 6 had an open verdict, 6 were death by self-hanging classified as misadventure and 1 was an overdose with a verdict of accidental death. These 13 deaths and the 7 with a coroner's verdict of suicide gave a total of 20 probable suicides.

Clinical Implications

Suicide statistics and targets need to take into account the fact that by current methods a significant proportion of suicides by adolescents will not be included in official figures. This underestimation would have been 65% if only suicides were identified and 35% when open verdicts were combined with suicides. Underestimating the youth suicide rate has consequences for the priority and resources allocated to preventing these deaths, and suicide deaths that are not recognised as such will not be included in relevant research and audit.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Inquest verdicts: youth suicides lost
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Inquest verdicts: youth suicides lost
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Inquest verdicts: youth suicides lost
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
Hide All
Charlton, J., Kelly, S., Dunnell, K., et al (1994) Trends in suicide deaths in England and Wales. Population Trends, 69, 1016.
Department of Health (1992) The Health of the Nation: A Strategy for Health in England. Department of Health.
Department of Health (1999) Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation. Department of Health.
Department of Health (2003) National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England. London: Department of Health.
Houston, K., Hawton, K. & Shepperd, R. (2001) Suicide in young people aged 15–24: a psychological autopsy study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 63, 159170.
Kjelsberg, E., Winther, M. & Dahl, A. A. (1995) Overdose deaths in young substance abusers: accidents or hidden suicides? Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 91, 236242.
Madge, N. & Harvey, J. G. (1999) Suicide among the young – the size of the problem. Journal of Adolescence, 22, 145155.
Matthews, P. & Foreman, J. (1993) Jervis on Coroners (11th edn). Sweet and Maxwell.
National Institute for Mental Health in England (2006) National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England: Annual Report on Progress 2005. Department of Health.
Neeleman, J. & Wessely, S. (1997) Changes in classification of suicide in England and Wales: time trends and associations with Coroners' professional backgrounds. Psychological Medicine, 27, 467472.
Office for National Statistics (2006) Mortality Statistics: General (series DHI no. 37). Office for National Statistics.
R v. Huntbach, ex parte Lockley [1944] KB 606.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 15 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 75 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd January 2018 - 23rd July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Inquest verdicts: youth suicides lost

  • Helen Gosney (a1) and Keith Hawton (a2)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *