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June 2022

Suicides by burning in England and Wales

Journal/Book: Br J Psychiatry. 1996; 168: British Journal of Psychiatry, 17 Belgrave Square, London, England SW1X 8PG. Royal College of Psychiatrists. 175-182.

Abstract: Background. The aim was to examine suicides by burning (SBB) occurring in England and Wales. Method. The method was a retrospective case note examination of death certificates, coroners' inquest notes and GP notes for all SBBs registered in 1991 by OPCS in England and Wales, and an examination of SBB statistics from 1979-1992. Results. In 24% of cases the incident involved others either as intended or actual victims or as witnesses, and three distinct groups (Asian-born women, schizophrenics, and homicide-suicides) were over-represented. The majority were not in contact with current psychiatric services, and 43% had never had contact with psychiatric services. There was no trend in SBB compared to other suicides in 1979-1992. Conclusions. While SBB may be associated with Asian-born women, homicide-suicide and schizophrenia, the majority of cases did not have these characteristics, and the overall psychiatric contact rate was similar to suicide by unspecified means.

Note: Article D Prosser, Inst Psychiat, Maudsley Continuing Care Study, de Crespigny Pk, London SE5 8AF, England


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