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Mortality and suicide after non-fatal self-poisoning: 16-year outcome study

  • David Owens (a1), Christopher Wood (a1), Darren C. Greenwood (a2), Tom Hughes (a3) and Michael Dennis (a4)...
Abstract
Background

Suicide reduction is government strategy in many countries. We need to quantify the connection between non-fatal self-poisoning and eventual suicide.

Aims

To determine mortality after an episode of self-poisoning and to identify predictors of death by any cause or by suicide.

Method

A retrospective single-group cohort study was undertaken with 976 consecutive patients attending a large accident and emergency unit in 1985–1986 after non-fatal self-poisoning. Information about deaths was determined from the Office for National Statistics.

Results

Of the original patients, 94% were traced 16 years later; 17% had died, 3.5% by probable suicide. Subsequent suicide was related to numerous factors evident at the time of the episode of self-poisoning but, when examined for their independent effects, only the severity of the self-poisoning episode and relevant previous history seemed important.

Conclusions

Patients attending a general hospital after self-poisoning all require good basic assessment and care responsive to their needs. Attempts to reduce the huge excess of suicide subsequent to self-harm are not likely to achieve much if they are based on the identification of subgroups through ‘risk assessment’

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr David Owens, Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, University of Leeds School of Medicine, 15 Hyde Terrace, Leeds LS2 9LT, UK. E-mail: d.w.owens@leeds.ac.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes
References
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  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
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Mortality and suicide after non-fatal self-poisoning: 16-year outcome study

  • David Owens (a1), Christopher Wood (a1), Darren C. Greenwood (a2), Tom Hughes (a3) and Michael Dennis (a4)...
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