Children of older fathers have an increased risk of psychiatric and academic problems, says new cohort study

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Research suggests that the risk of developing psychiatric problems (such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability or schizophrenia) may be linked to increased paternal age at the time of conception. This seems quite plausible given that advancing age in men is associated with increased genetic mutations in sperm. However, studies so far have generally not [read the full story...]

Suicide in primary care: findings of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness

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The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness was established in its current form at Manchester University in 1996. From 1991, prior to the move to Manchester, research in this area had been managed within the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  The NCISH has established an outstanding national and international reputation [read the full story...]

People who died by suicide are more likely to have been last discharged from a general hospital

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Suicide is a significant public health concern in the UK and globally. Recently it was reported that the UK male suicide rate in 2012 was 3.5 times that of women (Siddique, 2014). In 1981, when the data series these reports were based on began, the male suicide rate was 1.9 times that for women. However, overall [read the full story...]

Psychiatric illnesses and some chronic physical illnesses are associated with an increased risk of self-harm and suicide

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Last month, the Department of Health published the ‘Closing the Gap’ report, which highlighted the importance of better integration of physical and mental health care at every level. The report specifically flagged up the need for frontline services to respond better to people who self-harm, and cited statistics that emphasise the cyclical nature of the [read the full story...]

Do smoking cessation treatments increase the risk of depression and suicide?

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Smoking is a major preventable cause of morbidity and premature mortality throughout the world. There are an estimated 460,000 hospital admissions attributable to smoking in people aged over 35 every year, with an average annual cost to the NHS of £2.7 billion. Many strategies exist to help people give up smoking. The most common are [read the full story...]

How can we best prevent suicide in young people? More questions than answers

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Listening to a World Health Organisation podcast recently I learnt that someone dies as a result of suicide every 40 seconds; this equates to a million suicides each year. The podcast contains a myriad of such stark statistics and the contributors’ highlight how it is well established that young people are often at risk, and [read the full story...]

The largest ever study of self-harm in prisons: prevalence, risk, clustering and subsequent suicide

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New research published today in the Lancet shows that up to one in four women prisoners in England and Wales self-harm every year. The largest study of self-harm in prisons also reports that female prisoners are four times more likely to self-harm than male inmates. Previous systematic reviews have investigated self-harm in prisons (Lohner, 2007 and Dixon-Gordon, [read the full story...]

Suicidal ideation and behaviour may increase when adolescents are exposed to schoolmate and personally known suicides

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Suicidal ideation and behaviours are widespread and serious amongst adolescents (Husky et al., 2012). One theory suggests that suicide in this age group is caused by ‘suicide contagion’ (exposure to a suicide may influence an individual to attempt suicide). Ecological studies have indeed demonstrated this and show that suicide rates increase following a highly publicised [read the full story...]

Are psychotic symptoms predictive of suicide attempts?

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Over the past several years, there has been a lively academic debate about what it means to have psychotic symptoms. Although these symptoms (most commonly auditory hallucinations) can be part of the expression of a psychotic illness, on their own they are neither necessary nor sufficient for a diagnosis. In fact, researchers from many countries [read the full story...]

Lithium prevents suicide in mood disorders, according to updated systematic review

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Mood disorders include schizoaffective, dysthymia, rapid cycling, unipolar and bipolar disorders. People with mood disorders have a 30 times higher risk of suicide than the general population. Recent Mental Elf blogs have summarised the data on suicide risk and bipolar disorder, and shown that one key treatment is lithium which appears to have a robust evidence [read the full story...]