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Transl Psychiatry


Health systems are essential for suicide risk detection. Most efforts target people with mental health (MH) diagnoses, but this only represents half of the people who die by suicide. This study seeks to discover and validate health indicators of suicide death among those with, and without, MH diagnoses. This case-control study used statistical modeling with health record data on diagnoses, procedures, and encounters. The study included 3,195 individuals who died by suicide from 2000 to 2015 and 249,092 randomly selected matched controls, who were age 18+ and affiliated with nine Mental Health Research Network affiliated health systems. Of the 202 indicators studied, 170 (84%) were associated with suicide in the discovery cohort, with 148 (86%) of those in the validation cohort. Malignant cancer diagnoses were risk factors for suicide in those without MH diagnoses, and multiple individual psychiatric-related indicators were unique to the MH subgroup. Protective effects across MH-stratified models included diagnoses of benign neoplasms, respiratory infections, and utilization of reproductive services. MH-stratified latent class models validated five subgroups with distinct patterns of indicators in both those with and without MH. The highest risk groups were characterized via high utilization with multiple healthcare concerns in both groups. The lowest risk groups were characterized as predominantly young, female, and high utilizers of preventive services. Healthcare data include many indicators of suicide risk for those with and without MH diagnoses, which may be used to support the identification and understanding of risk as well as targeting of prevention in health systems.

Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; Case-Control Studies; Female; Humans; Mental Disorders; Risk Factors; Suicide; Surveys and Questionnaires

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