Attempted suicide rates and trends during a period of severe economic recession in Helsinki, 1989–1997
The aim of this investigation, which is part of a Nordic research project, is to describe all patients who were admitted to a psychiatric department following attempted suicide. The region covered by the investigation is geographically limited and reasonably representative of Denmark. This study is retrospective and includes consecutive registration of 230 attempts carried out by 208 persons in the period 1 October 1980–20 April 1981. The number of admissions following attempted suicide in the period 1976–1980/81 increased by 47% to 201 per 100 000 inhabitants. Distribution by sex was equal. The highest rates found, both for men and for women, were those for the age groups 30–40 years; 80% had taken an overdose of medicine and only 20% were deeply unconscious. Only 10% were psychotic. More than half had previously been admitted to psychiatric departments for another reason and about the same number had previously attempted suicide. After 20–26 months 5.8% had committed suicide. In an international context the following factors are noteworthy: increasing rates, equal distribution by sex, the peak rates for women between the ages of 30 and 40, many previous attempts and many subsequent suicides.