Objective: The aim of this paper was to elucidate factors associated with inpatient suicide.
Method: A retrospective review of inpatient suicides over a 20 year period in the Cavan/Monaghan mental health service was undertaken. Clinical files, statutory reports and Central Statistics Office returns were studied and information was obtained on demography, diagnosis and circumstances of the event.
Results: Eight patients committed suicide, giving a rate of 0.55/1,000 discharges and 0.39/100,000 population per year. Depressive illness and Schizophrenia were the diagnoses found. Repeated admissions and long duration of illness were noted. Previous suicidal behaviour was common. Four of the patients were considered a suicide risk at some time during the index admission. Underreporting of the suicides and inaccurate registration of institutional location by the Central Statistics Office were found.
Conclusion: More formal clinical procedures in registering suicide risk are recommended. New procedures for investigating inpatient suicides are suggested. Largescale studies at a national level are essential in defining more specific and sensitive risk factors. Procedural changes involving accurate central registration of data are required.