Qin and Nordentoft identified risk factors for suicide in Danish patients with a history of hospitalization for a psychiatric disorder. These can help identify a patient who may require closer monitoring and more aggressive management to prevent self-harm. The authors are from the University of Aarhus and Bispebjerg Hospital in Denmark.


Psychiatric condition causing admission:

(1) affective disorder (depression, etc.)

(2) schizophrenia

(3) substance abuse

(4) other


Risk factors for suicide:

(1) history of ever being hospitalized for psychiatric disorder (see data in Table 2, page 430)

(2) recent psychiatric hospitalization admission or discharge (highest in first week after admission or after discharge, but risk high for the first 30 days and remains increased for 12 months following a discharge)

(3) hospitalization relatively short (less than median for diagnosis)

(4) combination of (a) female gender, (b) multiple admissions, (c) admission for substance abuse



• A person with multiple psychiatric hospital admissions may have either more severe disease or poor disease control.

• A short hospitalization may correlate with inadequate disease control prior to discharge.


A person with a psychiatric disorder severe enough to be hospitalized should be assessed for suicide risk, aggressively treated if suicidal, and closely monitored for the first month after hospital discharge.


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