Year: 2022 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2022). 26(4), 1966–1972. SIEC No: 20221093
Aim: The use of health services prior to suicide has been little studied in countries with low suicide rates and, on the other hand, little is known on the use of concrete medical specialties other than primary care or mental health services. Objectives: To analyze the use of different types of health services, the psychiatric diagnosis, and treatments received in the year prior to suicide in the region of Gipuzkoa (Spain), a country with low rates of suicide and public universal access to healthcare. Methods: This is a retrospective descriptive study. We included all suicides registered by the official legal body between 2010 and 2017. Results: 388 suicides were analyzed. 78.9% had some contact with the health service in the last year. Primary care was the most used (60% contacted in the last 12 months and 23.5% in last week) followed by non-psychiatric outpatient specialties, mainly neurology, ophthalmology, and rehabilitation. Hospital discharges in the last month were 3 times higher from non-psychiatric units than from psychiatry (5.9% vs 1.8%). Only 32.5% contacted an outpatient psychiatric service the last year and less than 50% had a prescription of psychotropic drugs. The most frequent psychiatric diagnosis was F40-F49 (29.2%). Conclusions: Results expand the available knowledge and highlight the role of concrete non-psychiatric specialties (including both outpatient and inpatient services) in suicide prevention. Percentages of healthcare use are in line with other countries including some with different healthcare models and higher suicide rates. HIGHLIGHTSHealthcare use is high but similar to countries with higher suicide ratesThe use of several non-psychiatric specialties (outpatient & inpatient) stands outOnly 1 in 3 saw a psychiatrist and 1 in 2 might have received a psych. diagnosis.