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Keywords:

  • medically serious suicide attempts;
  • mortality;
  • motor vehicle accidents;
  • suicide

Objective:  To document mortality in a consecutive series of 302 individuals who made medically serious suicide attempts and were followed-up for 5 years.

Method:  All sources of mortality were examined in a 5 year prospective study of 302 individuals who made medically serious suicide attempts. Mortality data were obtained by checks with the national mortality database and, for suicide and accidental deaths, were confirmed by review of coronial records.

Results:  Within 5 years of making a medically serious suicide attempt, one in 11 (8.9%) participants had died. Most deaths (59.2%) were by suicide. Comparison of mortality in this series with rates expected in a comparable general population sample showed the excess mortality was attributable to death by suicide and by motor vehicle accidents.

Conclusion:  Mortality among those who make medically serious suicide attempts is high. These findings imply the need for the development of enhanced and long-term treatment, follow-up and surveillance programmes for those who make medically serious suicide attempts.