Utilization of psychiatric services prior to suicide: A retrospective comparison of users with and without previous suicide attempts
Probert-Lindstrom, S., Vaez, M., Froding, E., Ehnvall, A., Sellin, T., Ambrus, L., ... & Westrin, A.
Introduction: The aim was to investigate psychiatric health care utilization two years before death by suicide among individuals with previous suicide attempts (PSA) compared with those without (NSA). Method: A retrospective population-based cohort study was conducted including 484 individuals who died by suicide in Sweden in 2015 and were in contact with psychiatric services within the two years preceding death, identified through the Cause of Death register. Data on psychiatric health care two years before death, including suicide attempts according to notes in the medical record was used. Associations between having at least one PSA vs. NSA and health care utilization were estimated as odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) by logistic regression analyses. Results: Of the 484 individuals included, 51% had PSA. Those with PSA were more likely than NSA to have received a psychiatric diagnosis [OR 1.96 (CI 95% 1.17-3.30)], to have ongoing psychotropic medication [OR 1.96 (CI 95% 1.15-3.36)] and to have been absent from appointments during the last three months [1.97 (1.25-3.13)]. In addition, elevated suicide risk was more often noted in the psychiatric case records of those with a PSA than those without [OR 2.17 (CI 95% 1.24-3.79)]. Conclusion: The results underline the importance of improved suicide risk assessment as well as thorough diagnostic assessment and when indicated, psychiatric treatment as suicide preventive interventions regardless of PSA. Furthermore, the larger proportion of absence from appointments in individuals with PSA may indicate a need of improved alliance between psychiatric care providers and individuals with PSA.