Background: People with substance use disorders have a well-known increased risk for taking their own life. Previous research has mainly focused on suicide in mental health services, whereas there is limited knowledge regarding suicide after contact with substance misuse services.
Aims: The aim of the current study was to describe the utilisation of both mental health services and substance misuse services among people who have died by suicide within a year of contact with substance misuse services.
Method: We used an explanatory observational design, where all suicide deaths in the period from 2009 to 2016 were retrieved from the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry and linked with the Norwegian Patient Registry. The people who had been in contact with substance misuse services within a year before their death were included in the sample (n = 419). The analysis was stratified by gender, and variables with significant differences between men and women were entered into a multivariate logistic regression model.
Results: More women (73.5%) than men (60.6%) had contact with mental health services in their last year (P = 0.01). In the adjusted logistic regression model, poisoning was more common among women (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.81, 95% CI 1.09-3.02) and women were more likely to be diagnosed with a sedative, hypnotic or anxiolytic use disorder (F14) in their last year (AOR = 2.77, 95% CI 1.37-5.68).
Conclusions: This study highlights gender differences for suicide in substance misuse services, and the importance of collaboration and cooperation between substance misuse services and mental health services.