Year: 2009 Source: British Journal of General Practice, v.59, no.568, (November 2009), p.825-832 SIEC No: 20100737

This study investigated the frequency & nature of general practice consultations in the year before suicide for patients in current, or recent, contact with secondary mental health services. A retrospective case-note study & semi-structured interviews with general practitioners formed the study design. Overall, 91% (224/247) of individuals consulted their general practitioner on at least one occasion in the year before death. General practitioners reported concerns about patient safety in 43 of 159 cases but only 16% thought the suicide could have been prevented. Agreement between general practitioners & mental health teams regarding the risk of suicide was poor. Possible strategies might include examining the potential benefits of risk assessment & collaborative working between primary & secondary care. (38 refs.) JA