Serious Suicide Attempts and Risk of Suicide Death

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Background: In the US, more than one million people attempt suicide each year. History of suicide attempt is a significant risk factor for death by suicide; however, there is a paucity of data from the US general population on this relationship.

Aim: The objective of this study was to examine suicide attempts needing medical attention as a risk for suicide death.

Method: We conducted a case-control study involving eight US healthcare systems. A total of 2,674 individuals who died by suicide from 2000 to 2013 were matched to 267,400 individuals by year and location.

Results: Prior suicide attempt associated with a medical visit increases risk for suicide death by 39.1 times, particularly for women (OR = 79.2). However, only 11.3% of suicide deaths were associated with an attempt that required medical attention. The association was the strongest for children 10-14 years old (OR = 98.0). Most suicide attempts were recorded during the 20-week period prior to death.

Limitations: Our study is limited to suicide attempts for which individuals sought medical care.

Conclusion: In the US, prior suicide attempt is associated with an increased risk of suicide death; the risk is high especially during the period immediately following a nonlethal attempt.

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ePub ahead of print

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