Objective: To assess whether an assertive outreach intervention after suicide attempt could reduce the frequency of subsequent suicidal acts, compared with standard treatment.
Design: Randomised, parallel group, superiority trial with blinded outcome assessment.
Setting: Outpatient intervention at one location at Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark.
Participants: Patients older than 12 years admitted to regional hospitals in Copenhagen with a suicide attempt within the past 14 days. We excluded patients diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and patients living in institutions.
Intervention: Case management through assertive outreach that provided crisis intervention and flexible problem solving. This approach incorporated motivational support and actively assisted patients to scheduled appointments to improve adherence with after-treatment as an add on to standard treatment.
Main outcome: Repeated suicide attempt and death by suicide, recorded in medical records and death register at 1-year follow-up.
Results: 243 patients were included. During 12 months of follow-up, 20/123 (16%) patients in the intervention group had been registered in hospital records with subsequent suicide attempt, compared with 13/120 (11%) in the control group (odds ratio 1.60, 95% confidence interval 0.76 to 3.38; P=0.22). By contrast, self reported data on new events showed 11/95 (12%) in the intervention group versus 13/74 (18%) in the control group (0.61, 0.26 to 1.46; P=0.27). By imputing missing data on the selfreported outcomes, we estimated 15/123 (12%) events in the intervention group and 23/120 (19%) in the control group (0.69, 0.34 to 1.43; P=0.32).
Conclusion: Assertive outreach showed no significant effect on subsequent suicide attempt. The difference in rates of events between register data and self reported data could indicate detection bias.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00700089.