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Mental Health Patients Less Likely to Commit Suicide in Weekends, Study Shows

Jul 11, 2016 02:18 AM EDT
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A new study from the University of Manchester revealed that mental health patients were less likely to commit suicide on weekends.

The new study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, has found no evidence connecting the weekend effect on mental health and suicide. Furthermore, the study also showed that, contrary to previous studies, mental health patients were 12 to 15 percent less likely to take their own lives on weekend.

"Although the causes of suicide are varied and complex, we do know from our previous work that the way services are organized and staffed can have an effect. In this case however, our results did not suggest a weekend effect on suicide," explained Professor Nav Kapur, from The University of Manchester and the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust and lead author of the study, in a statement.

For the study, researchers analyzed 5,613 suicide deaths in England between 2001 and 2013. The researchers examined the suicide deaths in inpatients, including those who had been discharged from psychiatric hospital within the previous three months and those under the care of crisis resolution home treatment teams.

The researchers then found out that suicide was less likely to occur on weekends in all groups. Additionally, the researchers found that the weekend suicide rates of mental health patients were not influenced by the August effect.

August effect is the time when final-year medical students become doctors and junior doctors become a grade more higher. Previous research suggests that the switching of doctors during this month could affect patient care. However, this new study found no evidence supporting the claim.

Researchers noted that the study does not offer any causal reasons why suicide rates of inpatients were lower on weekends. However, they believe that the multi-disciplinary and community-based mental health services make mental health patients less affected from the weekend effect. Additionally, increase social contact between patients and their families and friends might also explain the lower weekend suicide rates.

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