Background: This study was designed to describe contacts with health services during the year before suicide death in France, and prevalent mental and physical conditions.
Methods: Data were extracted from the French National Health Data System (SNDS), which comprises comprehensive claims data for inpatient and outpatient care linked to the national causes-of-death registry. Individuals aged ≥15 years who died from suicide in France in 2013-2015 were included. Medical consultations, emergency room visits, and hospitalisations during the year preceding death were collected. Conditions were identified, and standardised prevalence ratios (SPRs) were estimated to compare prevalence rates in suicide decedents with those of the general population.
Results: The study included 19,144 individuals. Overall, 8.5% of suicide decedents consulted a physician or attended an emergency room on the day of death, 34.1% during the week before death, 60.9% during the month before death. Most contacts involved a general practitioner or an emergency room. During the month preceding suicide, 24.4% of individuals were hospitalised at least once. Mental conditions (36.8% of cases) were 7.9-fold more prevalent in suicide decedents than in the general population. The highest SPRs among physical conditions were for liver/pancreatic diseases (SPR=3.3) and epilepsy (SPR=2.7).
Limitations: The study population was restricted to national health insurance general scheme beneficiaries (76% of the population living in France).
Conclusions: Suicide decedents have frequent contacts with general practitioners and emergency departments during the last weeks before death. Improving suicide risk identification and prevention in these somatic healthcare settings is needed.
Keywords: Health Services; Mental Disorders; Somatic Disorders; Suicide; Utilisation.
Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.