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Cutting rates of suicide

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Lancet doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61712-1

Service improvements prevent suicide, according to an analysis of individuals who contacted mental health services in the 12 months before committing suicide in England and Wales between 1997 and 2006.

Implementation of key mental health recommendations increased from an average of 0.3 per service in 1998 to 7.2 in 2006.

The research showed that provision of 24-hour crisis care produced the largest fall in suicides: from 11.44 to 9.32 per 10, 000 patient contacts per year.
Local policies on patients with psychiatric illness and concurrent drug or alcohol dependence (10.55 to 9.61 per 10 ,000 contacts per year) as well as multidisciplinary review after suicide (11.59 to 10.48 per 10,000 contacts per year) also reduced suicides.

Services in the most deprived areas (incidence rate ratio 0.90) and those with highest case load (IRR 0.86) showed the greatest reduction in suicide. However, suicide rates showed little change in services that did not implement the recommendations.

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