First episode of psychosis linked to higher suicide risk

YOUNG patients experiencing a first episode of psychosis are at high risk of attempting suicide, even when undergoing specialist care, Australian data shows.

Researchers looked retrospectively at suicide characteristics of 607 patients treated at the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (EPPIC), pioneered by Professor Patrick McGorry.

They found 12% of the patients attempted suicide during treatment and 73% of those attempted suicide more than once.

More than 80% of suicide attempts occurred while the patient was having regular outpatient contact.

The study found that drug overdose was the most common method of attempted suicide, with nearly half of attempts involving antipsychotic medication.

Professor Stanley Catts, a psychiatrist from the discipline of psychiatry at the University of Queensland, said assessment of the risk of suicide in patients with first episode psychosis should be based on contextual