Nav: Home

Quality of psychiatric treatment -- not number of beds -- should be focus of suicide prevention

June 14, 2017

Health care providers should focus on the overall quality of psychiatric care, depression screening and outpatient services to prevent suicide, not the number of available inpatient psychiatric beds, argue researchers from the University of Chicago and Columbia University in a new statistical analysis.

The study, published June 14 in JAMA Psychiatry, rebuts an earlier study published in JAMA that claimed that the overall decline in the number of inpatient psychiatric beds available in the United States between 1998 and 2013 is linked to the increase in suicide rates during the same time period. That study, which compared two sets of parallel time series data, showed an inverse relationship between number of beds and suicide rates--i.e., as the number of beds declined, suicide rates increased. But using a more sophisticated regression model that broke down suicide rates within each state during the same time period, the authors of the new paper found no significant association between number of beds and suicide rates.

"If simply increasing hospital beds reduced suicides, that would be wonderful if it were true," said study author Robert Gibbons, PhD, Blum-Riese Professor in the Departments of Medicine & Public Health Sciences at the University of Chicago. "But by doing a naive statistical analysis, you're taking the focus away from other things that ultimately will reduce risk of suicide, and you're drawing attention to what you think is a simple fix that will have no effect whatsoever."

Gibbons and his co-authors, Kwan Hur, PhD, from UChicago, and J. John Mann, MD, from Columbia University, write that health care policy makers should focus on how existing psychiatric beds are used rather than their absolute number. Decreased suicide risk is linked to proper diagnosis and treatment of depression, and more efforts should be made to properly train primary care physicians and emergency department providers to screen patients and refer them for mental health care, they argue.

"You have to provide better treatment," Gibbons said. "You have to identify people at risk, measure the magnitude of that risk, and provide evidence-based treatment for people with previously unidentified and untreated depression. It's really about the quality of treatment, not simply the quantity of psychiatric hospital beds."
-end-
About the University of Chicago Medicine

The University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences is one of the nation's leading academic medical institutions. It comprises the Pritzker School of Medicine, a top 10 medical school in the nation; the University of Chicago Biomedical Sciences Division; and the University of Chicago Medical Center, which recently opened the Center for Care and Discovery, a $700 million specialty medical facility. Twelve Nobel Prize winners in physiology or medicine have been affiliated with the University of Chicago Medicine.

Visit our research blog at sciencelife.uchospitals.edu and our newsroom at uchospitals.edu/news.

Twitter @UChicagoMed, @ScienceLife
Facebook.com/UChicagoMed

University of Chicago Medical Center

Related Depression Articles:

Tackling depression by changing the way you think
A thought is a thought. It does not reflect reality.
How depression can muddle thinking
Depression is associated with sadness, fatigue and a lack of motivation.
Neuroimaging categorizes 4 depression subtypes
Patients with depression can be categorized into four unique subtypes defined by distinct patterns of abnormal connectivity in the brain, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine.
Studies suggest inflammatory cytokines are associated with depression and psychosis, and that anti-cytokine treatment can reduce depression symptoms
Studies presented at this year's International Early Psychosis Association meeting in Milan, Italy, (Oct.
Is depression in parents, grandparents linked to grandchildren's depression?
Having both parents and grandparents with major depressive disorder was associated with higher risk of MDD for grandchildren, which could help identify those who may benefit from early intervention, according to a study published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
Postpartum depression least severe form of depression in mothers
Postpartum depression -- a household term since actress Brooke Shields went public in 2005 about her struggle with it -- is indeed serious.
Tropical Depression 1E dissipates
Tropical Depression 1E or TD1E didn't get far from the time it was born to the time it weakened to a remnant low pressure area along the southwestern coast of Mexico.
Diagnosing depression before it starts
MIT researchers have found that brain scans may identify children who are vulnerable to depression, before symptoms appear.
Men actually recommend getting help for depression
Participants in a national survey read a scenario describing someone who had depressed symptoms.
Depression too often reduced to a checklist of symptoms
How can you tell if someone is depressed? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -- the 'bible' of psychiatry -- diagnoses depression when patients tick off a certain number of symptoms on the DSM checklist.

Related Depression Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...