Clinical Case Database / Category: Practical Procedure

A patient admitted following an overdose: mental health and risk assessment

Publication details

Katherine Linehan, Stephen Taylor
Foundation Years Journal, volume 4, issue 5, p.38 (123Doc Education, London, May 2010)


This article discusses the psychiatric assessment and management of a 46-year-old woman following an overdose. Risk assessment is essential following deliberate self harm, as is ensuring suitable follow-up. This case highlights the risks associated with repeated self-harm and what support can be offered to minimise such risks.

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Katherine Linehan

Foundation Year 1 Doctor

Stephen Taylor

Consultant Psychiatrist
Poole Hospital NHS Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole


1.  NICE (2004) Self-harm; the short-term physical and psychological management and secondary prevention of self-harm in primary and secondary care; Assessment of needs (specialist mental health professionals). NICE clinical guideline, July, 16:

2.  WHO (2007) Depressive episode, WHO, ICD-10, F32.

3.  NICE (2004) Self-harm, the short-term physical and psychological management and secondary prevention of self-harm in primary and secondary care; Psychosocial assessment after hospital attendance for self-harm; current practice, risk factors. NICE clinical guideline, 16:

4.  National Mental Health Risk Management Programme (2007). Best Practice in Managing Risk. DOH: London, Appendix 2.

5.  Patterson WM, Dohn HH, Bird J, et al. (1983) Evaluation of suicidal patients: the SAD PERSONS scale. Psychosomatics, 24(4):343–349.

6.  Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice (2005) How does the Act define a person’s capacity to make a decision and how should capacity be assessed? 4.14, DCA.

7.  Mental Health Act Code of Practice (1983) Doctor’s holding power (Section 5(2)) Dept Of Health and Welsh Office, March 1999, 8.2.


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About the Clinical Cases Database

T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

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