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NCJ Number: 219263 Find in a Library
Title: Schizophrenia and Suicide: A 10-Year Review of Kentucky Medical Examiner Cases
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:52  Issue:4  Dated:July 2007  Pages:930-937
Author(s): Lisa B.E. Shields M.D.; Donna M. Hunsaker M.D.; John C. Hunsaker III, M.D., J.D
Date Published: July 2007
Page Count: 8
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report presents the results of a 10-year (1993-2002) retrospective review of Kentucky medical examiners' cases ruled as suicides that involved victims diagnosed as schizophrenic.
Abstract: Although approximately 10-13 percent of individuals with schizophrenia commit suicide according to international studies, only 1.0 percent of the total number of suicides examined at the Medical Examiners' Offices in Kentucky between 1993 and 2002 had been clinically diagnosed with schizophrenia pursuant to the coroner's investigation. Twenty-nine victims were between the ages of 20 and 75 (mean age of 41.6 years). The majority of victims were male (62.1 percent) and Caucasian (86.2 percent. The study shows the overwhelming use of a firearm by both male and female schizophrenic individuals to commit suicide in Kentucky (48.3 percent), followed by overdose (20.7 percent) and hanging (13.8 percent). The prevention of suicide among schizophrenics as a public health issue warrants a multidisciplinary approach in order to encourage medication compliance and supportive psychotherapy, as well as to identify suicidal behavior in a timely manner. Intensive monitoring of schizophrenic individuals is critical, particularly in the period immediately following release from a psychiatric hospitalization. Also, further investigation is warranted in order to assess a schizophrenic's ability to access firearms. 1 figure, 4 tables, and 41 references
Main Term(s): Victims of Crime
Index Term(s): Death investigations; Firearms deaths; Gun Control; Gun control legislation; Kentucky; Mental disorders; Suicide; Suicide causes; Suicide prevention
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