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Medically treated suicide attempts: a four year monitoring study of the epidemiology in The Netherlands.
  1. E Arensman,
  2. A J Kerkhof,
  3. M W Hengeveld,
  4. J D Mulder
  1. Department of Clinical, Health and Personality Psychology, Leiden University, The Netherlands.


    OBJECTIVE--The incidence of medically treated attempted suicides was investigated in a defined area in the western part of The Netherlands, and demographic groups at risk were identified. DATA AND METHODS--Suicide attempts treated at general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, and in general practice were monitored between 1 January 1989 and 1 January 1993. Information on demographic characteristics of the subjects who attempted suicide and characteristics of the attempts was registered through a monitoring system and there was maximum coverage. Data on the general population in the catchment area were derived from national, regional, and municipal bureaux of statistics. RESULTS--The mean annual incidences of medically treated suicide attempts (events) were 95/100,000 for males and 155/100,000 for females. At risk groups for attempted suicide were the young (< 40 years); females; people who were divorced, unemployed, or disabled; or those who had low levels of education. CONCLUSIONS--Apart from general hospitals and psychiatric hospitals, 28% of all reported suicide attempts were reported exclusively by general practitioners, which supports the conclusion that they are an important source of information. There were indications that the number of medically treated suicide attempts in this area is stabilising.

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