Year: 2023 Source: BMC Psychiatry. (2023). 23, 21. SIEC No: 20230309
Background Suicide is a major health problem globally. As attempted suicide is a major risk factor for suicide, specific prevention strategies have been designed for use thereafter. An example is the brief contact intervention (BCI). In this regard, France employs a composite BCI, VigilanS, which utilizes three types of contact: phone calls, postcards and a ‘who to contact in a crisis’ card. Previous studies have found that this system is effective at preventing suicide. Nevertheless, VigilanS was not effective in the same way for all the patients included. This observation raises the question of specific adaptation during follow-up for populations that were less receptive to the service. In consideration of this issue, we identified one study which found that incoming calls to the service were linked with a higher risk of suicide reattempts. However, this study did not document the profiles of the patients who made these calls. Better understanding of why this population is more at risk is important in terms of identifying factors that could be targeted to improve follow-up. This research therefore aims to bring together such data. Methods We performed a retrospective analysis of 579 patients referred to VigilanS by Toulouse University Hospital (France). We examined the sociodemographics, clinical characteristics, and follow-ups in place and compared the patients who made incoming calls to the service versus those who did not. Subsequently, we conducted a regression analysis using the significantly associated element of patients calling VigilanS. Then, in order to better understand this association, we analyzed the factors, including such calls, that were linked to the risk of suicide reattempts. Results We found that 22% of the patients in our sample called the VigilanS service. These individuals: were older, at 41.4 years versus 37.9 years for the non-callers; were more likely to have a borderline personality disorder (BPD) diagnosis (28.9% versus 19.3%); and had a history of suicide attempts (71.9% versus 54.6%). Our analysis confirmed that incoming calls to VigilanS (OR = 2.9) were associated with reattempted suicide, as were BPD (OR = 1.8) and a history of suicide attempts (OR = 1.7). Conclusion There was a high risk that the patients calling VigilanS would make another suicide attempt. However, this association was present regardless of the clinical profile. We postulate that this link between incoming calls and reattempted suicide may arise because this form of contact is, in fact, a way in which patients signal that a further attempt will be made.