Three times as many mental health patients commit suicide when receiving care at home rather than hospital

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Three times as many mental health patients
committed suicide when receiving care at home
compared to those in hospital, new research has
revealed.

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The findings, published by the University of
Manchester, have raised concern among mental
health campaigners about the number of people
taking their own life after they have been
discharged from hospital and handed over to
‘crisis’ teams.
More than 200 suicide deaths per year now occur
in patients under mental health home treatment
teams – three times higher than the rate among in
patients.

And a third of patients under crisis resolution who
committed suicide had been using the service for
less than a week.
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The same proportion had been discharged from
hospital just two weeks before.
Researchers say crisis teams are increasingly
being relied on to relieve pressure on other acute
services and hospital beds.
Prof Louis Appleby, director of the university’s
National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and
Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH,
said: “This year’s report reflects the increasing
reliance on crisis teams in response to the strains
felt by acute mental health services.
“Our findings suggest that we are accepting too
much risk in the home treatment these teams offer,
and that the crisis team is now the priority for
suicide prevention in mental health.”

Prof Appleby said the suicide rate among patients
under home care had plateaued in the last six
years.
“Really that figure should be coming down,” he
added.
“Crisis teams are not inherently unsafe. It’s that
they have now become the main setting for suicide
prevention.”
Many patients included in the report were found to
be unemployed or homeless, and 13pc had
experienced financial difficulties.

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