73% rise is suicides for men with mental health issues

  • Research has found that there are three times as many suicides among crisis resolution or home treatment patients that in-patient admission. mentalhealth.jpg

    A new report has found that suicide amongst middle aged men with mental health issues has risen by 73% since 2006 which has been attributed to alcohol, job loss and debt, reports the Guardian.

    The University of Manchester’s National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness has found that the overall rise in suicides in men who have come into contact with mental health services was 29% with a rise among people aged 45 to 54.

    Prof Louis Appleby, the director of NCISH who was formerly the government’s mental health tsar and leads the national suicide prevention strategy has said: “Our findings show that within mental health care, middle-aged men are particularly at risk. The problem is not simply that they don’t seek help – they are already under mental health care – so we have to understand better the stresses men in this age group face. Our findings follow reports of fewer mental health beds in England and suggest that this has affected the safety of home treatment for patients who might previously have been admitted. Commissioners and providers should review the safety of their acute services. In particular, admissions of acutely ill people out of area should cease as they are likely to make care planning more difficult and increase suicide risk on discharge.”

    Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said mental health services had been underfunded historically and were struggling to cope with demand. “Earlier this year, the government announced its ambition to eliminate suicides among people in touch with mental health services. Today’s report shows just how far there is to go in achieving that goal. No one who is in touch with services, asking for help, should reach the point of taking their own life. NHS mental health services must be able respond when people reach out, from early treatment to help prevent people becoming more unwell, to an emergency response that can provide urgent care when someone in in crisis.”

    Stephen Dalton, chief executive of the NHS Confederation’s Mental HealthNetwork, said the report painted a complex picture, pointing out that suicides among in-patients had dropped by 61% from 2003 to 2012. More people are seeking help from mental health services but more must also be done on suicide prevention.

    “We must also remember that over two-thirds of people who take their own life have not been recently in contact with mental health services at all. We must ensure that more people, whether they are in contact with mental health services or not, are able to access the right help and support when they need it.”

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