Communication of suicide intent by schizophrenic subjects: data from the Queensland Suicide Register

Int J Ment Health Syst. 2007 Oct 31;1(1):6. doi: 10.1186/1752-4458-1-6.


Background: Suicide in mentally ill subjects, like schizophrenics, remains unbearably frequent in Australia and elsewhere. Since these patients are known to constitute a high-risk group, suicide in them should be amongst the most preventable ones. The objective of this study is to investigate the frequency of suicide communication in subjects with reported history of schizophrenia who completed suicide.

Method: The Queensland Suicide Register (QSR) was utilised to identify suicide cases. Frequency of suicide communication was examined in subjects with schizophrenia, and compared with persons with other psychiatric conditions and with subjects with no reported diagnosis. Socio-demographic variables, history of suicidal behaviour, pharmacological treatment and mental health service utilisation were also compared among the three groups.

Results and discussion: Subjects with a reported diagnosis of schizophrenia comprised 7.2% (n = 135) of the 1,863 suicides included in this study. Subjects with schizophrenia and those with other psychiatric disorders communicated their suicide intent more frequently than those with no psychiatric diagnosis, and persons with schizophrenia communicated their intent more than those with other psychiatric diagnoses. Seventy one per cent of schizophrenia subjects had contact with a mental health professional within the three months prior to suicide.

Conclusion: The fact that subjects with schizophrenia had the highest prevalence of suicide intent communication could offer concrete opportunities for suicide prevention.