APH 1999, 57, 171-184:

Attempted suicide in Gent: results from the Who/Euro multicentre study on parasuicide in 1996.

C. van Heeringen, Th. Meerschaert, and A. Berckmoes

Keywords: attempted suicide, epidemiology, risk factors

During 1996, 476 suicide attempts involving 420 persons were monitored in the Gent catchment area by twelve health facilities as part of the Who/Euro Multicentre Study on Parasuicide. The overall annual rate of attempted suicide was estimated at 356 per 100.000 inhabitants, with no significant difference between males and females. When compared to other European centres participating in the Multicentre Study, these rates are among the highest. The distribution of the occurence of attempted suicide appears to be strongly influenced by socio-demographic factors (age, marital status, employment status, and area of living). These socio-demographic characteristics differed substantially between suicide attempters admitted to general hospitals and those admitted to other health facilities. Half of the attempters reported a history of suicide attempts. Limitations of the study and implications for treatment and prevention of suicidal behaviour are discussed.