J Korean Med Sci.  2020 Dec;35(47):e402. 10.3346/jkms.2020.35.e402.

Comparison of Suicide Risk by Mental Illness: a Retrospective Review of 14-Year Electronic Medical Records

  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Institute of Human Behavioral Medicine, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul, Korea


Korea is one of the countries with the highest rate of suicide, while suicidality is known to be closely related to mental illnesses. The study aimed to evaluate the suicide rates in psychiatric patients, to compare it to that of the general population, and to investigate the differences among psychiatric diagnoses and comorbidities.
Medical records and mortality statistics of psychiatric patients at Seoul National University Hospital from 2003 to 2017 were reviewed. The standardized mortality ratio (SMR) for suicide was calculated to compare the psychiatric patients with the general population. The diagnosis-specific standardized mortality rate and hazard ratio (HR) were adjusted by age, sex, and psychiatric comorbidity (i.e., personality disorder and/or pain disorder).
A total of 40,692 survivors or non-suicidal deaths and 597 suicidal death were included. The suicide rate among psychiatric patients was 5.13-fold higher than that of the general population. Psychotic disorder had the highest SMR (13.03; 95% confidence interval [CI], 11.23–15.03), followed by bipolar disorder (10.26; 95% CI, 7.97–13.00) and substancerelated disorder (6.78; 95% CI, 4.14–10.47). In survival analysis, psychotic disorder had the highest HR (4.16; 95% CI, 2.86–6.05), which was further increased with younger age, male sex, and comorbidity of personality disorder.
All psychiatric patients are at a higher risk of suicide compared to the general population, and the risk is highest for those diagnosed with psychotic disorder.


Suicide; Mental Disorders; Psychiatric Diagnosis; Epidemiology
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