This study identified determinants associated with suicidal ideation, suicide attempt and no suicidal behavior in a 12-month period among 455 former or currently homeless individuals in Quebec (Canada).
Study recruitment took place in 27 organizations located in two major Quebec urban areas, where services for homelessness are offered. Independent variables including clinical, socio-demographic, and service use/outcome variables were measured with eight standardized instruments. Significant associations between these variables and suicidal ideation or attempt in bivariate analyses were produced to build a multinomial logistic regression model using a block approach.
Of 455 participants, 72 (15.8%) reported suicidal ideation and 30 (6.6%) suicide attempt, while 353 (77.6%) had not experienced suicidal behavior. Suicide ideation was particularly high among those with generalized anxiety disorder and substance use disorders, and suicide attempt even higher. Participants with higher functional disability and hospitalizations had a higher incidence of suicide attempt, whereas participants with schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, those placed in foster care during childhood and with higher stigma scores experienced more suicidal ideation.
Suicidal ideation and suicide attempt among currently or recently homeless individuals were both strongly associated with clinical variables. Based on the study results, specific interventions may be promoted to improve screening of homeless individuals with suicidal behavior and prevent hospitalization such as training programs and brief care management interventions, addiction liaison nurses, improved access to primary or specialized ambulatory services, and further development of case management and outreach programs for homeless individuals, especially those with functional disabilities.