Individual and area-level risk factors for suicidal ideation and attempt in people with severe depression

Nomi Werbeloff, Maria Markou, Joseph F. Hayes, Alexandra L. Pitman, David P.J. Osborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction Previous research has identified several risk factors that are strongly associated with suicidal behavior in patients with severe depression. However, the effects of area-level characteristics on suicidal ideation and attempt in this population remain unclear. Methods The Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) database was used to identify 2587 patients with severe depression who received secondary mental health services from the Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust. Stepwise multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine associations between socio-demographic characteristics, clinical variables, area-level measures, and suicidal ideation and attempt as separate outcomes. Results Both suicidal ideation and attempts were common among this cohort of severely depressed individuals (70.5% and 37.7%, respectively). While several individual socio-demographic and clinical characteristics were associated with both outcomes, particularly past psychiatric admission (suicidal ideation: adjusted OR=2.86, 95% CI: 2.26–3.62; suicide attempt: adjusted OR=4.00, 95% CI: 3.30–4.89), neither social deprivation nor ethnic density (measured at the area-level) was associated with risk for either outcome. Limitations Data were not collected specifically for research purposes and hence information on some potential confounders was not available. Additionally, information was restricted to individuals who accessed secondary mental health services in a defined catchment area and period. The study therefore does not take into account individuals who did not access mental health services. Conclusions The variation in risk for suicidal ideation and attempt among severely depressed individuals is explained by differences in individual socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, most notably past psychiatric admission and substance misuse, and not by area-level measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-392
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016


FundersFunder number
Medical Research CouncilG0802441, MR/L501487/1, MR/K021362/1


    • Ethnic density
    • Social deprivation
    • Suicidal ideation
    • Suicide attempt


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