The last appointment before suicide: is suicide intent communicated?

Am J Psychiatry. 1995 Jun;152(6):919-22. doi: 10.1176/ajp.152.6.919.


Objective: The authors' goal was to determine whether people who committed suicide within 4 weeks after having made contact with a health care professional communicated their intent to commit suicide during that final contact.

Method: Using data from a nationwide psychological autopsy study of all suicides in Finland that occurred in 1 year, the authors examined the 571 cases of suicide victims whose last appointment with a health care professional took place up to 28 days before suicide, including 100 cases of victims who had appointments on the day of suicide.

Results: Suicide intent was reportedly discussed in only 22% of the cases; it was particularly uncommon in general practice and nonpsychiatric specialist settings.

Conclusions: The majority of patients who commit suicide do not seem to communicate their intent to do so during their last appointment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Sex Distribution
  • Specialization
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data