Changes in Suicidal Ideation of Patients during Hospital Treatment


Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania


Background. It is well established that there are higher rates of suicides among patients with mental disorders (WHO). Also, medical treatment of patients lowers the risk of suicide. 

Aim. to disclose the changes in suicidal thoughts, intentions and attempts and self-rated health (SRH) in patients during hospital treatment.

Methods. The investigation was conducted in psychiatric department of Kaunas regional hospital as collaborative project in a frame of health psychology programme VMU. Semi-structured clinical interview, together with 23 written items were used (Cr. α – 0.8). Three items of self-rated clinical symptoms of depression (lack of energy, sadness and loss of interests) were also used. Procedure was used twice: on admission and on discharge from hospital with 28 males and 99 females, ill with depression (ICD-10 codes: F32- F33) and 36 males and 62 females ill with schizophrenia (F20-F25). Mean age of patients was 47.8±12.9 years. Contingency tables and χ2 were calculated, level of statistical significance p<0.05 was used. Investigation was approved by local ethical committee.

Results. In initial investigation out of 127 depressive patients, reported having suicidal thoughts (85%), intentions (66.9%), attempts (45.7%), which changed at the time of discharge from hospital as follows – 60.6%, 0.0%, 0.0%, (p<0.001). Changes in suicidal ideation during hospital treatment were accompanied by parallel changes in SRH (p<0.001) and symptoms of depression as lack of energy, sadness and loss of interest, (p<0.001). The significant correlations between SRH, symptoms of depression and signs of suicidal ideation was established (p<0.001).

Conclusions. 1. Within sample of depressive or schizophrenic patients undergoing hospital treatment, significant changes of reported intentions and attempts of suicide happened on discharge. 2. Depressive symptoms on discharge lost their intensity but not recovered to euthymic level. 3. SRH of patients improved substantially, but not to the level supposed to be comfortable at the end of the treatment.