Suicide related deaths among mental health patients over the weekend are actually lower than those occuring during weekdays. The new evidence has been found in a revealing study carried out by the University of Manchester. The study was prompted by current government policy that is pushing for a seven day NHS. The results add more weight to growing evidence opposing Jeremy Hunt’s plan to extend weekday coverage by NHS staff to weekends.
The paper published in the *British Journal of Psychiatry also found that the actual incidence of suicide was 12-15% lower at the weekend as compared to weekday figures. It is one of the first studies to investigate whether a weekend effect is present in mental health care.
Head of the study, Professor Nav Kapur of the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, said:
We wanted to explore a possible weekend effect on patient suicide. We looked at specific groups being treated in hospital or the community who might be particularly vulnerable to changes in care. We actually found a markedly reduced suicide risk at the weekend. We also found a reduced risk in people who were admitted at the weekend.
The study looked at 5,613 deaths by suicide that occurred in England between 2001 and 2013. These deaths happened among three groups of higher risk mental health patients:
- Hospital inpatients.
- Patients discharged from psychiatric hosptial (within the past three months).
- Patients under the care of a crisis resolution home treatment team (CRHT).
All three groups individually were found to experience lower rates of suicide at the weekend compared to any weekday. The 12-15% lower incident rate of suicide includes all three groups in its analysis but does not take into account the……
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Featured Image via Youtube screenshot of Proffesor Nav Kapur