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A Psychiatric Approach to the Diagnosis of Suicide and its Effect upon the Edinburgh Statistics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018

Irene M. K. Ovenstone*
Mapperley Hospital, Nottingham; formerly Scientific Staff, M.R.C. Unit for Epidemiological Studies in Psychiatry, University Department of Psychiatry, Edinburgh EH10 5HF


Researchers agree that suicides are under-reported, although estimates of the extent vary. Dublin (1963) suggested that recorded figures were understated by one fourth to one third. Seager and Flood (1965) estimated that possible suicides among deaths reported as accidents, misadventure or open verdicts might be as many as 50 per cent of those actually returned as suicide. Important sources of under-reporting lie in the methods of ascertaining and recording suicide as well as in religious and social attitudes, which tend, in certain countries, to look upon suicide as a stigma and to avoid a verdict of suicide where possible.

Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1973 

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