Many studies have confirmed that the risk of suicide in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) is high, and high rates of premature mortality, particularly from suicide, may occur in the early phases of schizophrenia. However, suicide rates are difficult to measure in FEP patients, even in carefully defined samples, and there is relatively little specific information about the risk of suicide at illness onset or retrospectively concerning the untreated psychotic period. This selected review of the literature investigates suicidal behaviour with particular regard to severe suicidality (plans and attempts) and risk factors associated with suicide in FEP patients. A search was performed to identify all papers and book chapters during the period 1965-2010, and approximately 100 studies met the inclusion criteria. Most of evidence suggests that risk of suicidal behaviour is relatively high in FEP patients. The research reports highlight the need for universal, comprehensive, public mental health interventions aimed, not only toward early detection, but also toward the rapid engagement in treatment of people with psychoses. These interventions should include an adequate assessment of suicidal behaviour in patients with FEP, and an examination of the efficacy of specific components of the interventions.
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