Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Improve coding practices for patients in suicidal crisis

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 15 October 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2480

Rapid Response:

Re: Improve coding practices for patients in suicidal crisis

Dear Editor

There are suicides which are recorded as due to mental distress or illness which omit to include that the person was taking prescribed medications and which have the potential for generating suicidal thoughts and actual suicide. (Although these are not only psychiatric medications.) By now there is much more information to warn against this, so more accurate records could be kept. There is no reliable data about the extent this is happening--there seems to be a reluctance to link suicide with medications on official reports or inquests. It surely could be managed. It would allow more accurate information to be collected perhaps in a limited way initially using data from codes, but this could be used both to gather more information about the potential effect of some medications on some individuals and importantly as a further flag for individuals and prescribers.

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 October 2021
susanne stevens