RESEARCH – November 2004

Suicidality in society and the factors predicting suicide attempt


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The aim of the current study was to identify suicidality (suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts) in the community and to analyse the risk factors for suicide attempts, with emphasis on social factors. The paper is based on the data collected during the WHO worldwide SUPRE-MISS study (Suicide Prevention – Multisite Intervention Study on Suicidal Behaviours). The study consists of two parts: a study of suicide attempters older than 15 years (n = 469) carried out in the North-Estonian Regional Hospital (Mustamäe Hospital and Tallinn Psychiatric Clinic) and a community survey (control group) among persons selected at random from general practitioners’ lists (n = 500) in the Tallinn region. The community survey revealed that more than every tenth respondent has during his/her lifetime thought about suicide and that those who have previously thought about committing suicide or made a plan for committing suicide have more probably committed suicide attempts. The following factors were found to predict suicide attempt: female sex (61% of suicide attempters were females), age below 30 years, absence of cohabitation, absence of work (unemployment, disability, retired status) and previous suicide attempts (30% were repeated attempts).