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Keywords:

  • attempted suicide;
  • community care;
  • depression;
  • quality of life;
  • Taiwan

Aims and objectives

To describe factors associated with the subjective quality of life of individuals who had attempted suicide.

Background

Although quality of life has been a focus of concern in mental health care, data are lacking on what life is like and what factors are related to an individual's quality of life after a suicide attempt.

Design

A cross-sectional, descriptive design was used.

Methods

Participants comprised a convenience sample of 103 individuals who had attempted suicide within the previous three months and received follow-up care from one suicide-prevention centre in northern Taiwan. Participants were assessed for depression and quality of life using the Beck Depression Inventory, Taiwan version and the World Health Organisation Quality of Life Instrument-BREF, Taiwan version, respectively.

Results

Almost half the participants (n = 49) had severe depression and one-third of them (n = 30) reattempted suicide while receiving follow-up care. Depression and quality-of-life scores were statistically significantly inversely correlated. participants' quality-of-life scores were most associated with their depressive level, reattempting suicide during suicidal follow-up care, high educational level and older age.

Conclusions

The present study indicates that factors associated with quality of life decreased more in individuals with moderate/severe depression than in those with mild depression. In addition, individuals who reattempted suicide during follow-up care were more likely to suffer from poor life quality.

Relevance to clinical practice

Mental health professionals should include frequent evaluation of depressive status and quality of life in follow-up care for patients who have recently attempted suicide. Particularly, mental health professionals must treat suicidal individuals with a high tendency to reattempt suicide by establishing trust with them and allowing them to narrate their painful experiences during follow-up care.