To improve the epidemiological study of suicide and attempted suicides in Aquitaine, France, we developed a comprehensive surveillance system based on the input of Sentinel General Practitioners (SGPs). From October 1986 to May 1988, for each case of suicide or attempted suicide, the SGPs reported epidemiological data to our system through a computer network of personal home terminals (Minitels). Data included age, sex, method and result of attempt and antecedents. In an analysis of the relationship between the suicidal method, antecedents and results of suicidal act, the principal findings were a high rate of antecedents of suicide attempts by drug overdoses, hangings and drownings; and no antecedents for attempts by the use of firearms. This may show that the increasing accessibility of firearms is making it more likely that impulsive suicide attempts will be lethal.
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