What is the role of incarceration and hospitalization in the development of suicidal behaviors?

Updated: Jul 26, 2021
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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If an individual feels or is indeed trapped, especially those who are incarcerated, they are at suicide risk. Prisoners have a high rate of suicide; this is common during the first hours to first week of being placed in confinement. [80, 81] In contrast, during the first week after a patient's discharge from a psychiatric hospital or unit, the risk of suicide is particularly high. [82] For many, the transition is difficult, challenging, and anxiety provoking.

The risk of suicide should be extended to all persons involved with the criminal justice system. Webb et al determined that major health and social problems frequently coexist in this population, including offending, psychopathology, and suicidal behavior. [83] Further prevention strategies are needed for this group, including improved mental health service provision for all people in the criminal justice system, even those found not guilty and those not given custodial services. Better coordination is needed in public services to tackle coexisting health and social problems.

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