Suicide and mental illness: A clinical review of 15 years findings from the UK National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide

Kirsten Windfuhr, Navneet Kapur

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Introduction: Suicide risk is most commonly associated with mental illness. In particular, suicide in people under mental health care presents distinct patterns of risk and opportunities for prevention due to their close proximity to specialist care.Sources of data: The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (Inquiry) is a unique UK-wide national database of all suicide cases in contact with mental health services in the 12 months preceding suicide. This review presents Inquiry findings from the beginning of the Inquiry in 1996 up to the present (2011) (15 years).Areas of agreement: Suicide varies substantially by socio-demographic (age, gender) and clinical features (e.g. diagnosis; care variables). Effective suicide prevention initiatives should incorporate research findings to inform clinical practice and policy.Areas of controversy: Risk assessment remains one of the most difficult areas of clinical practice and management although all areas of clinical practice, research and policy development would benefit from continued high-quality studies.Growing points: The Inquiry work has positively influenced mental health practice and policy in the UK. These changes include: falling suicide rates in mental health patients, informing suicide prevention strategies and developing safety checklists for mental health services.Areas timely for developing research: Investigating suicide in non-mental health settings, investigating suicide following different treatment services and investigating models of service delivery could usefully inform future directions for improving patient safety. © 2011 The Author.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-121
    Number of pages20
    JournalBritish Medical Bulletin
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


    • mental health services
    • mental illness
    • National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide
    • suicide


    Dive into the research topics of 'Suicide and mental illness: A clinical review of 15 years findings from the UK National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this