Suicide has become the ninth leading cause of death in Taiwan since 1997. Therefore suicide prevention is currently a major health issue to overcome. Some well-defined high risk factors for suicide have been reported in the literature. In particular, psychiatric in-patients are known to be at a high risk of suicide . Although psychiatric in-patient units may contain a higher percentage of people judged to be at high risk of suicide, as it is a reason for admission, very few patients make an attempt.According to one survey, about 1 percent of all suicides were committed by patients who were being treated in general medical-surgical or psychiatric wards, and the annual suicide rate of psychiatric in-patients was re- ported as only 0.003 percent . However, it has been reported that the frequency of in-patient suicides is increasing in many countries. It may be explained in part by higher patient turnover rates due to shorter lengths of stay, alterations in admission policy, the diminished use of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), permissive management (open doors and easy departure) and so on . All these factors were also
observed in the health care system in Taiwan. In general, psychiatric in-patient suicide is a rare but
important event. It not only causes grief for the family and friends and has a negative effect on other inpatients but also raises shock, guilt and self-doubt in the health care professionals involved in caring for the patient . Some studies have made an effort to assess the clinical predictability of psychiatric in-patients suicide.