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. 2004;23(4):693-714.

Comparison of Suicide Attempters and Completers

  • PMID: 15685909

Comparison of Suicide Attempters and Completers

Sharon M Valente. Med Law. .


Nurses are challenged to estimate risk for suicide and to manage and prevent suicide. Evaluating and differentiating suicide attempters from completers is a serious clinical responsibility; miscalculation of risk and inadequate vigilance can have lethal consequences. In this retrospective study, suicide messages, risk, and symptom distress were examined among a matched cohort of suicide completers (SC) (n=25) and suicide attempters (SA) (n=25) at a Veterans Administration Medical Center. Staff members documented and reported patients' clear, and frequent messages about suicide. Themes within psychiatric patients' suicide messages and the number of documented suicide messages helped differentiate SA s from SCs. SCs were more likely to have a fear of being killed, hopelessness, and perceived symptom distress. SAs (28.6%) typically made a contract with staff not to commit suicide in the hospital while no SCs did so. Over 50% of the suicide messages were clear and directly referred to suicide. Indirect or unclear messages about suicide are more likely to be overlooked or discounted by staffmembers. All of the patients who completed suicide after hospital discharge, did so in the first 6 weeks after discharge. The paper includes a review of the relevant literature.

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    Pestian JP, Matykiewicz P, Linn-Gust M. Pestian JP, et al. Biomed Inform Insights. 2012;5:1-6. doi: 10.4137/BII.S10213. Epub 2012 Nov 5. Biomed Inform Insights. 2012. PMID: 23170067 Free PMC article.
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    Pestian JP, Matykiewicz P, Linn-Gust M, South B, Uzuner O, Wiebe J, Cohen KB, Hurdle J, Brew C. Pestian JP, et al. Version 2. Biomed Inform Insights. 2012 Jan 30;5(Suppl 1):3-16. doi: 10.4137/bii.s9042. Biomed Inform Insights. 2012. PMID: 22419877 Free PMC article.

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