chapter  9
Suicide and deliberate self-harm
ByBen Green
Pages 10

This chapter explores case histories based on suicide and deliberate self-harm. The annual UK suicide rate for men runs at 15–20 per 100 000 and 4–5 per 100 000 for women. Most completed suicides are associated with prior psychiatric illness. Depression, schizophrenia, alcoholism and most other mental disorders greatly increase the risk of suicide. About 10" of people with severe mood disorders and 5" of people with schizophrenia eventually kill themselves. Careful assessment and management of psychiatric patients may help prevent some of these deaths. Repetitive deliberate self-harm such as self-cutting or self-burning behaviour is becoming more common in Europe with up to 4" of adolescents self-harming in this way. Attempted suicides can be by a variety of means: self-poisoning, self-strangulation, failed attempts at hanging and so on. Deliberate self-harm is abnormal behaviour aimed at causing physical harm to the body, but without clear intent to take life, such as repeated minor cutting of the wrists or forearms.