Year: 2023 Source: Journal of Psychiatric Research. (2023). 164, 28-36. SIEC No: 20231557
Introduction: European countries use various terminologies for self-harm and attempted suicide, which are sometimes used interchangeably. This complicates cross-country comparisons of incidence rates. This scoping review aimed to examine the definitions used and the possibilities to identify and compare incidence rates of self-harm and attempted suicide in Europe. Methods: A literature search was conducted in Embase, Medline and PsycINFO for studies published from 1990 to 2021, followed by grey literature searches. Data were collected for total populations originating from health care institutions or registries. Results were presented in tabular form supplemented by a qualitative summary by area. Results: A total of 3160 articles were screened, resulting in 43 studies included from databases and further 29 studies from other sources. Most studies used the term 'suicide attempt' rather than 'self-harm' and reported person-based rates with annual incidence rates from age 15+. None of the rates were considered comparable due to different reporting traditions related to classification codes and statistical approaches. Conclusion: The present extensive literature on self-harm and attempted suicide cannot be used to compare findings between countries because of the high degree of heterogeneity among studies. International agreement on definitions and registration practices is needed to improve knowledge and understanding of suicidal behaviour.