Last reviewed: July 2019
Last updated: May  2019

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • previous suicide attempt or self-harm episodes
  • current suicide plan
  • access to lethal means
  • history of psychiatric disease, including substance misuse
  • family history of suicide or mental illness

Other diagnostic factors

  • chronic medical illness, disability, or disfigurement
  • significant psychosocial factors
  • unhelpful traits

Risk factors

  • current suicidal plan
  • self-harm
  • history of mental illness, including substance misuse
  • availability of lethal means
  • history of childhood abuse or neglect
  • family history of death by suicide
  • male sex 
  • prison inmate
  • family history of psychiatric illness
  • physical illness
  • marital status (divorced, single, widowed)
  • professions/occupations (unemployed, self-employed, agricultural workers, medical and dental professionals)
  • psychosocial stressors

Diagnostic investigations

Treatment algorithm

Contributors

Authors VIEW ALL

Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist

Liaison Team

Glan Clwyd Hospital

Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board

St Asaph

Wales

UK

Disclosures

ACK is an employee and director of 4Mental Health and, in this capacity, has received funding for designing and delivering training. ACK is an author of references cited in this topic.

Wellcome Trust Clinical Doctoral Fellow

Department of Psychiatry

University of Oxford

Warneford Hospital

Honorary Clinical Fellow

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Oxford

UK 

Disclosures

AdeC is in receipt of a clinical doctoral training fellowship from the Wellcome Trust (since October 2018) and a travel fellowship from the Royal College of Psychiatrists/Gatsby Foundation. All are external bodies that fund research into and/or release information that includes suicide prevention. 

Dr Alys Cole-King and Dr Angharad de Cates would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Stan Kutcher and Dr Magdalena Szumilas, previous contributors to this topic.

Peer reviewers VIEW ALL

Emeritus Professor of Health Policy Research

University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Scotland

UK

Disclosures

SP is a paid consultant to Samaritans, NHS Health Scotland, the Scottish Government, and the Irish National Office of Suicide Prevention. He is an unpaid adviser to The Listening Place.

Patient Advocate

Sports & Materials Science

University of Birmingham 

Birmingham

UK

Disclosures

SG is the vice-chair of the Independent Mental Health Act Review; an associate trainer for suicide mitigation at Connecting with People; Programme Lead for the Engager Prison Project; trustee for the Council of Management for Mind and the Association of Mental Health Providers; Service User Representative for West Midlands Mental Health (STP) Alliance; occasional advisor to the National Suicide Prevention Alliance and Public Health England; and a member of the West Midlands Service User Representative Forum, Royal College of Psychiatrists West Midlands Executive Division. He receives a salary and/or travel and subsistence expenses for these roles.

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