Background: Mental disorders are widely recognized to be associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality. However, the extent to which highest-risk groups for mortality overlap with those viewed with highest concern by mental health services is less clear. The aim of the study was to investigate clinical risk assessment ratings for suicide, violence and self-neglect in relation to all-cause mortality among people receiving secondary mental healthcare.
Method: A total of 9234 subjects over the age of 15 years were identified from the South London and Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre Case Register who had received a second tier structured risk assessment in the course of their clinical care. A cohort analysis was carried out. Total scores for three risk assessment clusters (suicide, violence and self-neglect) were calculated and Cox regression models used to assess survival from first assessment.
Results: A total of 234 deaths had occurred over an average 9.4-month follow-up period. Mortality was relatively high for the cohort overall in relation to national norms [standardized mortality ratio 3.23, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.83-3.67] but not in relation to other mental health service users with similar diagnoses. Only the score for the self-neglect cluster predicted mortality [hazard ratio (HR) per unit increase 1.14, 95% CI 1.04-1.24] with null findings for assessed risk of suicide or violence (HRs per unit increase 1.00 and 1.06 respectively).
Conclusions: Level of clinician-appraised risk of self-neglect, but not of suicide or violence, predicted all-cause mortality among people receiving specific assessment of risk in a secondary mental health service.