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Br J Psychiatry. 1998 Dec;173:462-74.

Suicide and recency of health care contacts. A systematic review.

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  • 1Department of General Practice and Public Health, University of Melbourne, Australia.



Many countries have set targets for suicide reduction, and suggested that mental health care providers and general practitioners have a key role to play.


A systematic review of the literature.


Among those in the general population who commit suicide, up to 41% may have contact with psychiatric inpatient care in the year prior to death and up to 9% may commit suicide within one day of discharge. The corresponding figures are 11 and 4% for community-based psychiatric care and 83 and 20% for general practitioners.


Among those who die by suicide, contact with health services is common before death. This is a necessary but not sufficient condition for clinicians to intervene. More work is needed to determine whether these people show characteristic patterns of care and/or particular risk factors which would enable a targeted approach to be developed to assist clinicians in detecting and managing high-risk patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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