Year: 2018 Source: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. (2018). 53(11): 1161–1171. SIEC No: 20180620

The predictive value of suicide risk assessment in secondary mental healthcare remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the extent to which clinical risk assessment ratings can predict suicide among people receiving secondary mental healthcare.
Retrospective inception cohort study (n = 13,758) from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) (London, UK) linked with national mortality data (n = 81 suicides). Cox regression models assessed survival from the last suicide risk assessment and ROC curves evaluated the performance of risk assessment total scores.
Hopelessness (RR = 2.24, 95% CI 1.05–4.80, p = 0.037) and having a significant loss (RR = 1.91, 95% CI 1.03–3.55, p = 0.041) were significantly associated with suicide in the multivariable Cox regression models. However, screening statistics for the best cut-off point (4–5) of the risk assessment total score were: sensitivity 0.65 (95% CI 0.54–0.76), specificity 0.62 (95% CI 0.62–0.63), positive predictive value 0.01 (95% CI 0.01–0.01) and negative predictive value 0.99 (95% CI 0.99–1.00).
Although suicide was linked with hopelessness and having a significant loss, risk assessment performed poorly to predict such an uncommon outcome in a large case register of patients receiving secondary mental healthcare.