By Jack Elsom For Mailonline
Published: 23:30 GMT, 6 November 2019 | Updated: 23:30 GMT, 6 November 2019
Self-harm patients need to receive better care after they are hospitalised to reduce their risk of suicide, doctors have warned.
Oxford University researchers tracked almost 50,000 self-harm patients in England for up to 15 years.
They found suicide rates were 55 times higher among such patients in the year after being hospitalised, compared to the general population.
Dr Galit Geulayov, lead author, said the results show suicide risk peaks immediately after being discharged from hospital.
Oxford University research found former self-harm patients are 55 times more prone to killing themselves than the general population (file photo)
She added that this clearly 'underscores the need for provision of early and effective follow-up care'.
Dr Geulayov, of Oxford's Centre for Suicide Research, said: 'Presentation to hospital for self-harm offers an opportunity for intervention.
'Yet people are often discharged having not received a formal assessment of their problems and needs, and without specific aftercare arrangements.'
She urged hospitals to draw up personalised aftercare plans for patients to follow upon their discharge, based on a thorough exit mental assessment.
Of almost 50,000 self-harm patients admitted to five English hospitals observed in the study, 703 took their own life after discharge.
More than a third of these died by suicide within a year of leaving hospital, showed the results published in Lancet Psychiatry.
The incidence in the 12 months following discharge from hospital was 511 suicides per 100,000 people per year.
Those who attended hospital more than once were more likely to die by suicide than those with just one admission.
Rates of self-harm have trebled across England since the millennium – with the highest increase among girls and young