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Does Availability of Mental Health Resources Prevent Recurrent Suicidal Behavior? An Ecological Analysis


  • The authors acknowledge the valuable contributions of: Holly Hedegaard, MD, MSPH, Chun-Lo Katy Meng, PhD, and Shannon Breitzman, MA, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; Renee Rivera, Mental Health Association of Colorado; Mary Anne Barbee, Colorado Department of Human Services; Kaia Gallagher, PhD, Center for Research Strategies, LLC.; Patrick Triplett, MD, MA, Johns Hopkins Hospital; Lisa Harden Van Bramer, MD, and Jason L. Cooper, CFA, MBA, CPA.

  • Dr. DiGuiseppi was supported in part by Grant Number R49/CCR811509 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The contents of this paper are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

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This study examines whether availability of mental health resources in the county of residence is associated with subsequent suicidal behavior after a previous suicide attempt. Among 10,922 individuals who attempted suicide in Colorado between 1998 and 2002, residence in a county that offered a minimum safety-net of mental health services significantly reduced the risk of suicidal behavior for at least 1 year after the index attempt. Safety-net services included mental health treatment, crisis treatment, and case management. These results suggest one strategy for prevention of suicidal behavior that could inform state-level health policy development and resource allocation.

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