According to randomized trials, contact after a suicide attempt lowers relapse risk. However, effectiveness studies based on real clinical data can provide additional external validity.
We conducted an observational study to determine if an emergency department (ED)‐initiated intervention for suicide attempt risk reduction, consisting on scheduling a single added appointment within 7 days after discharge following a suicide attempt, can reduce the risk of relapse. The study included 1,775 patients who had been treated at a general hospital ED due to a suicide attempt. The principal outcome measure was ED return after a new attempt. We obtained Kaplan‐Meier survival functions and used Cox proportional hazard regression models to estimate unadjusted and adjusted risks of relapse by treatment phase. Covariates included: age, gender, history of suicide attempts, history of psychiatric disorders, concurrent alcohol/drug abuse, number of attempts during follow‐up, admission as an inpatient and family support.
A total of 497 (22.5%) attempts were followed by a relapse. Subjects exposed to the studied intervention had a lower risk of relapse after a suicide attempt, with a 24% adjusted risk reduction estimate.
Our real‐world results suggest that an additional early appointment, scheduled before discharging suicide attempters, reduces suicide reattempt risk.