Year: 2023 Source: JMIR Public Health Surveillance. (2023). 9, e41261. doi:10.2196/41261 SIEC No: 20230936
Background: Deliberate self-harm (DSH) along with old age, physical disability, and low socioeconomic status are well-known contributors to suicide-related deaths. In recent years, South Korea has the highest suicide death rate among all Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Owing to the difficulty of accessing data of individuals with DSH behavior who died by suicide, the factors associated with suicide death in these high-risk individuals have not been sufficiently explored. There have been conflicting findings with regard to the relationship between previous psychiatric visits and suicidal death. Objective: We aimed to address the following 3 questions: Are there considerable differences in demographics, socioeconomic status, and clinical features in individuals who received psychiatric diagnosis (either before DSH or after DSH event) and those who did not? Does receiving a psychiatric diagnosis from the Department of Psychiatry, as opposed to other departments, affect survival? and Which factors related to DSH contribute to deaths by suicide? Methods: We used the Korean National Health Insurance Service Database to design a cohort of 5640 individuals (3067/5640, 54.38% women) who visited the hospital for DSH (International Classification of Diseases codes X60-X84) between 2002 and 2020. We analyzed whether there were significant differences among subgroups of individuals with DSH behavior based on psychiatric diagnosis status (whether they had received a psychiatric diagnosis, either before or after the DSH event) and the department from which they had received the psychiatric diagnosis. Another main outcome of the study was death by suicide. Cox regression models yielded hazard ratios (HRs) for suicide risk. Patterns were plotted using Kaplan-Meier survival curves. Results: There were significant differences in all factors including demographic, health-related, socioeconomic, and survival variables among the groups that were classified according to psychiatric diagnosis status (P<.001). The group that did not receive a psychiatric diagnosis had the lowest survival rate (867/1064, 81.48%). Analysis drawn using different departments from where the individual had received a psychiatric diagnosis showed statistically significant differences in all features of interest (P<.001). The group that had received psychiatric diagnoses from the Department of Psychiatry had the highest survival rate (888/951, 93.4%). These findings were confirmed using the Kaplan-Meier survival curves (P<.001). The severity of DSH (HR 4.31, 95% CI 3.55-5.26) was the most significant contributor to suicide death, followed by psychiatric diagnosis status (HR 1.84, 95% CI 1.47-2.30). Conclusions: Receiving psychiatric assessment from a health care professional, especially a psychiatrist, reduces suicide death in individuals who had deliberately harmed themselves before. The key characteristics of individuals with DSH behavior who die by suicide are male sex, middle age, comorbid physical disabilities, and higher socioeconomic status.