Patterns and predictors of help-seeking contacts with health services and general practitioner detection of suicidality prior to suicide: a cohort analysis of suicides occurring over a two-year period

Gerard Leavey, Michael Rosato, Karen Galway, Lynette Hughes, Sharon Mallon, Janeet Rondon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)
282 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Contact with primary care and psychiatric services prior to suicide may be considerable, presenting
opportunities for intervention. However, there is scant knowledge on the frequency, nature and determinants of
contact.
Method: Retrospective cohort study-an analysis of deaths recorded as suicide by the Northern Ireland Coroner’s
Office linked with data from General Practice patient records over a 2 year period
Results: Eighty-seven per cent of suicides were in contact with General Practice services in the 12 months before
suicide. The frequency of contact with services was considerable, particularly among patients with a common
mental disorder or substance misuse problems. A diagnosis of psychiatric problems was absent in 40 % of suicides.
Excluding suicide attempts, the main predictors of a noted general practitioner concern for patient suicidality are
male gender, frequency of consultations, diagnosis of mental illness and substance misuse.
Conclusions: Despite widespread and frequent contact, a substantial proportion of suicidal people were
undiagnosed and untreated for mental health problems. General Practitioner alertness to suicidality may be too
narrowly focused.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Volume16
Issue number120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • Suicide predictors
  • General Practice
  • Health Services
  • Suicidal Ideation

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