We followed up a sample of psychiatric patients (diagnoses predominantly schizophrenia and depression) who had participated in in-patient studies of their CSF over the past 15 years. The status of 73 former patients was confirmed, of whom 12 had died. Seven of these patients died at age ⩽40, largely of suicide, homicide, or accidental causes. These seven patients had significantly lower CSF 5-HIAA and HVA than living control patients. There were significant direct correlations between age at death and both CSF 5-HIAA and HVA in the deceased patients. The results offer support for CSF monoamine metabolites relating to early death in a diagnostically diverse sample of psychiatric patients.