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Sources of information on suicide attempts in the Nord - Pas-de-Calais (France). Contributions and limitations

, : Sources of information on suicide attempts in the Nord - Pas-de-Calais (France). Contributions and limitations. Revue D'epidemiologie et de Sante Publique 62(6): 351-360

There are very few permanent indicators of mental health in France; suicidal behavior is often only understood on the basis of deaths by suicide. The epidemiological interest and methodological limits of four medico-administrative databases from which data on suicide attempts can be extracted have been the subject of a study in the Nord - Pas-de-Calais Region of France: telephone calls for emergency medical assistance after suicide attempt (2009 to 2011), admissions in emergency services with a diagnosis of suicide attempt (2012), medical-surgical hospital admissions as a result of suicide attempt (2009 to 2011), and psychiatric admissions with a diagnosis of suicide attempt (2011). Usable data were provided by one of two emergency medical assistance units, five of thirty emergency departments and all medical-surgical and psychiatric units; in data from the latter two sources, a unique anonymous identifier gave individual statistics, while the first two covered only suicide attempts. In 2011, the number of suicide attempt calls per 100,000 inhabitants was 304, whereas the number of hospitalisations with this diagnosis was 275; rates are highest in men between 20 and 49 years of age, and in women below 20 years of age and between 40 and 49. Sources are seen to be very homogeneous with regards to the average age at which suicide took place (between 37.8 and 38.5 years, depending on the source), and to the sex (55.0% to 57.6% of women). In 2011, the number of patients with a diagnosis of suicide attempt treated in psychiatry is 2.6 times lower than the number hospitalised for suicide attempt in medical-surgical units (3563 vs 9327). Permanent gathering of data, and the large volume of data recorded, should encourage the use of these databases in the definition and assessment of mental health policy: an increased contribution from emergency call centers and emergency services, and the coding of the suicidal nature of intoxications by a few clearly under-declaring units, must however be achieved in order to improve this source of information.


PMID: 25454751

DOI: 10.1016/j.respe.2014.09.007

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