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Mentally Ill: Suicide

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 15 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of people who have committed suicide in each of the last five years who had been treated for mental health problems. (189867)

The number of mental health service users in England who committed suicide and the proportion of total suicides which this represents, in the five most recent years for which data is available is shown in the following table.

The data collection methodology for total suicides also records deaths caused by undetermined intent and the total includes these deaths. At the time of responding, the data for 2005 was 93 per cent. completed and final figures, when available, are expected to be higher than those shown in the following table.

Number of mental health service users in England who committed suicide and the proportion of total suicides which this represents, 2001-05

Number of service users in year who committed suicide

Total number of suicides and deaths by undetermined intent in year

Percentage of people who had previously been in touch with mental health services

2001

1,258

4,560

27.6

2002

1,246

4,449

28.0

2003

1,235

4,452

27.7

2004

1,280

4,518

28.3

2005

1,199

4,421

27.1

Source: The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness.

Information on suicides by people in contact with mental health services is collected by the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH). NCISH is funded by the National Patient Safety Agency to ensure that everyone involved in mental health learns and implements lessons from the factors associated with serious mental illness. The Department has been, and remains committed to taking appropriate action in response to the Inquiry's findings.