Objective: To quantify the suicide rate among people discharged from non-psychiatric settings after presentations with suicidal thoughts or behaviours.
Method: Meta-analysis of studies reporting suicide deaths among people with suicidal thoughts or behaviours after discharge from emergency departments or the medical or surgical wards of general hospitals.
Results: A total of 115 studies reported 167 cohorts and 3747 suicide deaths among 248 005 patients during 1 263 727 person-years. The pooled suicide rate postdischarge was 483 suicide deaths per 100 000 person-years (95% confidence interval (CI) 445-520, prediction interval (PI) 200-770) with high between-sample heterogeneity (I2 = 92). The suicide rate was highest in the first year postdischarge (851 per 100 000 person-years) but remained elevated in the long term. Suicide rates were elevated among samples of men (716 per 100 000 person-years) and older people (799 per 100 000 person-years) but were lower in samples of younger people (107 per 100 000 person-years) and among studies published between 2010 and 2018 (329 per 100 000 person-years).
Conclusions: People with suicidal thoughts or behaviours who are discharged from non-psychiatric settings have highly elevated rates of suicide despite a clinically meaningful decline in these suicide rates in recent decades.