Letter| Volume 41, P103-104, December 2022

Admission to a psychiatric hospital independently increases suicide risk

      Many psychiatric professionals believe a depressed person whose mood begins to improve, has an increased risk of suicide. This is a myth, although it has been reported, taught, and believed for decades. It is at the point where it is now accepted as given wisdom. The scientific literature does not support this belief. It seems that this belief came from select observations of a few early psychiatric professionals. These events were noted, and emphasized, by the unexpected nature of the suicide of patients who appeared to be getting better (
      • Mittal V.
      • Brown W.A.
      • Shorter E.
      Are patients with depression at heightened risk of suicide as they begin to Recover?.
      ). The shock of the event seems to have strengthened belief in the explanation that increase in available energy resulted in action that had previously not been possible. However, there is a benefit from belief in this myth; vigilance regarding suicide risk must be maintained throughout the course of a patient's recovery.


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