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Keywords:

  • first episode;
  • psychosis;
  • suicide;
  • suicide attempts

Objective:  This was to determine the prevalence of suicidal behaviours prior to and during the first year of treatment in a comprehensive early psychosis program (EPP) and to identify predictors of suicidal behaviour.

Method:  In a cohort study of 238 subjects, patients were assessed at initial presentation to an EPP and 1 year later. Measures included a range of demographic variables, suicide attempts, depression, positive and negative symptoms, social functioning and substance misuse.

Results:  Although 15.1% attempted suicide prior to program entry, only 2.9% made an attempt in the year after program entry and 0.4% completed suicide. No further attempts were seen in those with previous parasuicide. These rates are lower than other published rates for first-episode patients.

Conclusion:  It is possible that specifically designed first-episode programs can reduce the suicidal behaviour in this high-risk population. The low prevalence of attempted suicide makes modeling predictors difficult.