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Br J Psychiatry. 2011 Jul;199(1):64-70. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.110.084129. Epub 2011 Jan 24.

Treatment of suicidal people around the world.

Author information

  • 1Universitair Psychiatrisch Centrum - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (UPC-KUL), University Hospitals Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium. ronny.bruffaerts@med.kuleuven.be

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide; however, little information is available about the treatment of suicidal people, or about barriers to treatment.

AIMS:

To examine the receipt of mental health treatment and barriers to care among suicidal people around the world.

METHOD:

Twenty-one nationally representative samples worldwide (n=55 302; age 18 years and over) from the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Surveys were interviewed regarding past-year suicidal behaviour and past-year healthcare use. Suicidal respondents who had not used services in the past year were asked why they had not sought care.

RESULTS:

Two-fifths of the suicidal respondents had received treatment (from 17% in low-income countries to 56% in high-income countries), mostly from a general medical practitioner (22%), psychiatrist (15%) or non-psychiatrist (15%). Those who had actually attempted suicide were more likely to receive care. Low perceived need was the most important reason for not seeking help (58%), followed by attitudinal barriers such as the wish to handle the problem alone (40%) and structural barriers such as financial concerns (15%). Only 7% of respondents endorsed stigma as a reason for not seeking treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Most people with suicide ideation, plans and attempts receive no treatment. This is a consistent and pervasive finding, especially in low-income countries. Improving the receipt of treatment worldwide will have to take into account culture-specific factors that may influence the process of help-seeking.

PMID:
21263012
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3167419
Free PMC Article
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