Contacts to the health care system prior to suicide: a comprehensive analysis using registers for general and psychiatric hospital admissions, contacts to general practitioners and practising specialists and drug prescriptions.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to describe suicides' contacts with various parts of the health-care system. METHOD: Data on 472 people who committed suicide in a Danish County (Funen) in the period of April 1 1991 to December 31 1995 were searched in the Danish Psychiatric Central Register, the National Patient Register, the National Health Insurance and Odense Pharmacoepidemiologic Database. RESULTS: In total, 97.5% of the suicides were recaptured in at least one of these registers. Forty-two per cent had been hospitalized in psychiatric departments. Within the last month before death, 66% consulted a general practitioner, 13% and 7%, respectively, were discharged from a psychiatric hospital and general hospital. CONCLUSION: The registers used provided a comprehensive registry-based description of suicides' contacts with the health-care system. The most prominent features were the high prevalence of psychiatric morbidity and the high rate of contacts with GPs close to suicide.