Increased Risk for Suicide Following Hospitalization

There are numerous factors that put a person at a higher risk for suicide. Among those include depression, substance abuse, previous suicide attempts, and tragic life events. One of the most subtle and dangerous ones? Recent discharge from a hospital. People who have recently been discharged from psychiatric inpatient care are often at a much higher risk for suicide attempts immediately after their release, especially for the first few weeks.

What are some factors that can aggravate this?

  • Short (less than a week) admission prior to release
  • A recent adverse or tragic life event
  • Older age
  • Multiple connected psychiatric disorders

Women at Higher Risk Than Men

According to research, in the week following discharge from a psychiatric hospital, women are dramatically more at risk for a suicide attempt. In fact, they are 246 times more likely than average to commit suicide, while men are 102 times more likely during that first week. The chances still remain extremely high for the entire month (and often longer) following the discharge.

This increased risk does not necessarily mean that patient was released too soon or out of error. Since suicidal intent is fluid, it can be difficult to predict. Day to day a patient may feel completely different, having dark thoughts on a Tuesday and being completely stable on a Thursday. Due to the fact that the patient is getting psychiatric treatment, they are often at a higher risk for committing suicide to begin with.

What Can Be Done During this Crucial Stage?

In most cases, it is inevitable that a patient will be discharged once they have had adequate care. Like mentioned above, that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t struggle with suicidal thoughts.

According to one study, 55% of suicides following hospital discharge occurred within the first week. Of those, 49% occurred prior to a first follow-up appointment. To help prevent tragic action on these thoughts, it is important for patients to get the care and supervision they need. Therapeutic Solutions’ partial hospitalization program can be extremely beneficial during this time.

During this program, patients get:

  • To return home to stay in a familiar and comfortable setting
  • Focused support and help in an outpatient setting
  • Personalized care from our behavioral health team
  • Consistent interaction and help with medication adjustments
  • Quicker attention than in traditional outpatient programs
  • To avoid expensive hospital costs

In addition to partial hospitalization, we also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) designed to help patients transition upon discharge from full or partial hospitalization. It includes education and support for family members, help with ideas on how to manage symptoms for patients, and the freedom and ability to carry on with life while still receiving professional attention and care. This can be another key step in helping a patient’s symptoms become stabilized during this risky time.

Therapeutic Solutions is comprised of a team of board-certified psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists who have extensive training in behavioral health. If you or a loved one is facing an increased suicide risk, reach out to us today.