Do suicidal ideation and behaviour influence duration of psychiatric hospitalization?
ABSTRACT Suicidal ideation and behaviour are sometimes considered to be manipulative, with the intention of escaping from intolerable situations leading to prolonged hospitalization. The present study examined the length of hospitalization of those who had attempted suicide or had suicidal ideation compared to non-suicidal patients, as measured by the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales in two private psychiatric hospitals. Suicidal patients had a significantly shorter length of hospitalization, despite their significantly greater degree of psychiatric morbidity. Results indicated that it is erroneous to preclude inpatient care for those who are suicidal on the assumption that it will promote prolonged hospitalization.