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Drink and drugs fuel Scottish suicide and homicide rates
Date:6/16/2008

Alcohol and drug misuse mean Scots are almost twice as likely to kill or take their own life compared to people living in England and Wales, research published today (Monday, June 16) reveals.

The findings by The University of Manchester's National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCI) also show that the number of mental health patients committing homicide or suicide was proportionately much higher in Scotland.

The 'Lessons for Mental Health Care in Scotland' report, commissioned by the Scottish Government, blames these higher death rates north of the border on alcohol and drug consumption, both in the general population and among mental health patients.

The NCI examined all suicides and homicides in the general population in Scotland, as well as those committed by people who had sought help from mental health services, and compared them to its findings for England and Wales.

Suicide rates in Scotland equated to 18.7 per 100,000 of the population, compared to 10.2 per 100,000 in England and Wales, while homicide rates north of the border were 2.12 per 100,000 people compared to 1.23 per 100,000 in England and Wales. The north-south divide was highest among teenagers, the report found.

"In the time covered by the study six years for suicides and five years for homicide there were about 5,000 suicides and 500 murders in Scotland," said Louis Appleby, Professor of Psychiatry and NCI Director. "However, the Inquiry found that only 28% of the people who took their own life and 12% of killers had recently been mental health patients.

"There has been a welcome recent fall in the suicide rates among the general Scottish population but, despite this, the most striking feature of rates north of the border is how much higher they are than in England and Wales.

"Similarly, the homicide rate in Scotland is substantially higher than in England and Wales. However, in
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Contact: Aeron Haworth
aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-8383
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

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