Prevalence of suicide risk factors in people at ultra-high risk of developing psychosis: a service audit

Paul Hutton, Samantha Bowe, Sophie Parker, Sarah Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Little data is available on the prevalence of suicide risk factors in people at ultra-high risk (UHR) of developing psychosis.

AIM: The aim of this study was to provide an estimate of the cross-sectional prevalence of possible suicide risk factors in those attending a routine clinical service for people at UHR of developing psychosis.

METHODS: For all patients in treatment (n=34) over a 4-week period, levels of suicidal ideation and depression upon entry to the service were assessed by auditing intake scores on the Beck Depression Inventory, second edition. Level of engagement with services, social isolation, substance and alcohol misuse, ready access to means, current suicidal ideation, previous suicide attempts, current or previous self-harm, expressions of concern from others, depression, agitation, hopelessness, worthlessness, suspiciousness and fears of mental disintegration were all assessed by case note review and interview with the treating clinician.

RESULTS: There was a high prevalence of at least mild suicidal ideation (58.8%, n=20) and severe depressed mood (47%, n=16) in this client group at point of entry to the service. Seven people (20.6%) had engaged in serious self-harm (including attempted suicide) during the time they were in contact with the service. Forty-seven per cent (n=16) reported at least 27 suicide attempts between them; the mean number of attempts being 1.69 (standard deviation=1.08).

CONCLUSION: Suicide risk was high in this small sample of people at UHR of developing psychosis. Controlled research with larger samples and better methodology is urgently required to inform legal, ethical and scientific debates surrounding this group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-80
Number of pages6
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Personality Inventory
  • Prevalence
  • Preventive Health Services
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide
  • Young Adult

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