Effect of telephone follow-up on repeated suicide attempt in patients discharged from an emergency psychiatry department: a controlled study

BMC Psychiatry. 2017 Mar 20;17(1):96. doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1258-6.


Background: Attempted suicide is a major public health problem, and the efficacies of current postvention protocols vary. We evaluated the effectiveness of telephone follow-up of patients referred to an emergency psychiatric unit for attempted suicide on any further attempt/s over the following year.

Method: In a single-center, controlled study with intent to treat, we evaluated the efficacy of a protocol of telephone follow-up of 436 patients at 8, 30, and 60 days after they were treated for attempted suicide. As controls for comparison, we evaluated patients with similar social and demographic characteristics referred to our emergency psychiatric unit in the year prior to the study who did not receive telephone follow-up after their initial hospitalization. Data were analyzed using logistic regression.

Results: Very early telephone follow-up of our patients effectively reduced recidivism and seemed to be the only protective factor against repeated suicide attempt.

Conclusions: Implementing a protocol of early telephone follow-up after attempted suicide could help prevent repeated attempt/s. More controlled studies are needed to assess optimal techniques to prevent such repetition.

Keywords: Emergency; Follow-up; Nurse; Phone; Suicide attempts.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emergency Services, Psychiatric*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge
  • Risk Assessment
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Suicide, Attempted / prevention & control*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*