Year: 2023 Source: Journal of Korean Medical Science. (2023). 38(6), e40. SIEC No: 20230403
Background: The implementation of an effective suicide prevention program requires the identification and monitoring of subpopulations with elevated risks for suicide in consideration of demographic characteristics to facilitate the development of tailored countermeasures for tackling the risk factors of suicide. We examined the annual trends in emergency department (ED) visits for suicide attempts (SAs) or self-harm and investigated the sex- and age-specific characteristics of individuals who visited the ED for SA and self-harm. Methods: Data on ED visits for SA or self-harm in Korea from 2016 to 2020 were extracted from the National Emergency Information System and assessed. We evaluated the age-standardized incidence rate of ED visits for SA or self-harm, and hospital mortality among individuals who visited the ED for SA or self-harm. In addition, the characteristics of the individuals were compared according to sex and age. Results: We identified 145,963 ED visits for SA or self-harm (0.42%) during the study period. The rate of ED visits increased in the youngest age group (19–29 years old), and was more prominent among females (increased by an annual average of 22.5%), despite the coronavirus disease pandemic. The middle-aged group (45–64 years old) had a higher rate of mortality than other age groups and the highest proportion of individuals on Medical Aid. Conclusion: It is necessary to plan age- and sex-specific suicide prevention programs that focus on improving the limited public mental health resources for the vulnerable populations.