S70: ‘Unintentional’ and unexpected death in people with serious mental illness in the National Coronial Information System

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By September 16, 2018 No Comments

Authors: Jen Smith-Merry

Year: 2018

Event: 2018 TheMHS Conference


Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: The National Coronial Information System (NCIS) collects information about deaths investigated by Australian and New Zealand Coroners. The NCIS provides important details about the lives of people at the time of their death, including their health, medication use and recent interactions with services. Until now the information on this system has primarily been used to inform service development for suicide prevention (e.g. Manuel et al 2017; Arnautovska et al 2015). We extend this by investigating non-intentional deaths of people with mental illness investigated by NSW Coroners from 2012-2016. Looking collectively at this very moving and personal information allows for an understanding of the life situations which might lead to unexpected death in someone with mental ill-health. This presentation demonstrates that people are frequently dying of preventable diseases related to drugs (including prescribed medication) and alcohol, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders and accidents. We also point to a number of probable suicides present in the data. Demographic details on people with mental ill-health who died from unintentional causes are compared to those who died from suicide. This demonstrates that people who die from unintentional causes die at similar ages to people who die from suicide, but are far more socially marginalised.

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