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Characteristics of Attempted Suicide Patients Presenting to a Greek Emergency Department

Background: Attempted suicide is a major health problem internationally and a common cause of presentation to emergency department. The identification of the potential contributing factors associated with suicide attempts is of great importance for effective suicide prevention. Objectives: The aim of the study was to determine the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients with attempted suicide presenting in a Greek emergency department. Methods: A cross-sectional, retrospective study was conducted including all episodes of attempted suicide attending to emergency departments in a general hospital in Greece from January 2014 to December 2014. Data was collected using a standard registration form. Descriptive statistics and chi-square tests were used to identify the factors associated with attempted suicide. Results: A total of 203 suicide attempt presentations were made to the emergency department by 195 individuals. The male-to-female attempted suicide ratio was 1:1.5. The mean age of patients was 40.5 ± 15.6 years and the largest numbers by age groups were 25-34 year-old (28.6%). The most common method used for attempted suicide was self-poisoning (80.8%) mainly with benzodiazepines (36.6%) and analgesics (18.6%). The majority of self-harm involved self-cutting/stabbing (63.9%) and hanging (13.9%). The most frequently reported reason for attempted suicide was related to interpersonal relationships (59.6%). Psychosocial assessment by specialist mental health personnel occurred in 44.3% of cases. Self-poisoning were significantly associated with gender and education in multivariable analysis.Conclusions: Attempted suicide is a multi-determined act which results from an interaction between a wide range of socio-demographic and clinical factor. Further researches are required to enhance our understanding of patients’ profile that predispose to suicide attempt and contribute to implementation of targeted treatment approaches.


George Filippatos and Evridiki Karasi

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