he Annual Report 2015, which presents findings from 2003 to 2013, highlights areas of healthcare where safety should be strengthened. There has been a 29% rise among men who die by suicide while under the care of mental health services in the UK since 2006, a report by The University of Manchester’s National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH). During the report period, 2003-2013, the largest rise was seen in middle aged men 45-54 years old, where there has been a 73% increase since 2006, which may be driven by increases in risk factors such as alcohol and economic pressures.
Suicide in men is sometimes blamed on a reluctance to ask for help but the figures we are reporting are for men who are receiving mental health care. Our findings suggest the drivers of these increases may be risk factors such as (a) alcohol – alcohol misuse is a common antecedent but most patients are not in contact with alcohol services, (b) economic pressures unemployment having become a more frequent antecedent of patient suicide in most UK countries. It may also result from increased use of hanging, an especially dangerous method.
In 2013 there were 445 mental health patients who were reported to have major physical illness and who died by suicide – this figure has risen since 2008, though the rise may reflect a greater awareness of physical illness among staff.