The British Journal of Psychiatry
Psychiatric Morbidity in a Sample of a London Coroner's Open Verdicts
T. A. HOLDING, B. M. BARRACLOUGH

Abstract

One hundred and thirty-four deaths recorded as open verdicts in the Inner West London Coroner's District during 1969 and 1970 have been surveyed for evidence of mental illness. For 110 (82 per cent) of these deaths the probable verdicts were suicide or accident and they were reclassified as undetermined deaths. Of these deaths 73 per cent were diagnosed as mentally ill, 54 per cent were receiving medical treatment for psychological symptoms before death, 42 per cent had a history of psychiatric care and 24 per cent had made a previous suicide attempt. In these respects undetermined deaths and suicide deaths resemble each other; both are drawn predominantly from the mentally ill.