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High mortality and reduced quality of life in people who have presented to hospital for self-harm in the UK

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What is the long-term morbidity and quality of life for patients who engage in self-harm?


150 individuals (average age 28.4 years; 39% male, 61% female) who had presented to hospital with an episode of self-harm in 1997 (94% with self-poisoning, 4% self-injury, 4% both; 31.3% first episode of self-harm, 63.3% had ≥1 previous episodes). These individuals were initially selected to be a representative sample of self-harm patients presenting to one hospital, as part of the WHO/EURO Multicentre Study on Parasuicide. They were then traced and contacted about 6 years later to take part in the current study.


UK; original recruitment from one hospital in 1997.

Prognostic factors

Self-harm. The study focused on describing outcomes in the cohort rather than identifying prognostic factors. It compared mortality the cohort with the age and sex match general English population based on 1997 interim life-tables and EuroQoL quality of life with local population norms from the Health Survey for England 1996.


Mortality, death by suicide (based on death certificate or open verdicts judged to be suicide by a panel of psychiatrists), repetition of self-harm, psychiatric diagnoses (ICD-10 version of the Mini internationals Neuropsychiatric Interview and …

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  • Source of funding Medical Research Council.


  • Competing interests None

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