Methods of non-fatal self-harm may help to predict future risk of suicide
The Mental Elf, 2012
NICE guidance recommends that all people who self-harm and are admitted to hospital are given mental health and risk assessment:
Everyone who has self-harmed should have a comprehensive assessment of needs and risk; engaging the service user is a prerequisite.
This new prospective cohort study conducted by a research team from Oxford University’s Centre for Suicide Research, set out to investigate weather the most recent method of non-fatal self-harm could be used to predict the risk of future suicide.
The researchers took data from the Multicentre Study of Self-harm conducted in 3 centres in England from 2000-2010.
Over 30,000 people presented to emergency departments in 6 hospitals from 2000-2007 with non-fatal self-harm.
76.2% of participants had one episode of self-harm during the study, 13.3% had two episodes, 10.7% had three or more episodes
When compared with self-poisoning, all other methods of self-harm at the last episode were associated with a significantly increased risk of suicide as a whole:
When compared with self-poisoning, most other methods of self-injury at the last episode were associated with a significantly increased risk of suicide by self-injury (defined as all methods other than poisoning):
Other methods of self-injury were not significantly associated with risk of suicide by self-injury (HR 2.55, 95% CI 0.93 to 6.99)
People presenting with all methods of self-harm had similar risks of subsequent suicide by self-poisoning
32% of people who killed themselves used the same method for their death as for their last episode of self-harm