Premature mortality after suicide attempt and the risk in relation to socioeconomic status in Finland in 1988–2007

Netta Mäki, University of Helsinki

Several studies have shown that individuals with a history of suicide attempt form a high-risk mortality group, and completed suicide is the main cause of death among them. Furthermore, a few studies suggest that even though low socioeconomic status increases suicide in general population, the association between socioeconomic status and suicide is non-existent or even reversed in suicide attempt population. However, this association is still little studied. Data in this study come from population-register data files with an 11% nationally representative sample all of the Finns between the years of 1988 and 2007 with a random oversample of 80% of all deaths during the period and a linkage with information on causes of hospitalization. The highest differences in mortality between the general and suicide attempt populations were for external causes of death, especially for suicide, but mortality for many diseases was also higher in the suicide attempt population. Especially, mortality was high during the first year following the attempt, for example total mortality was over 8-fold higher. In the general population, socioeconomic status was inversely associated with mortality, but in the suicide attempt population, the association was either weaker (all cause mortality) or direct (suicide). In suicide attempt population those with a high socioeconomic status form the most vulnerable groups possibly because of worse mental health status before being hospitalized or because the admission is more stigmatising for them. Suicide prevention should focus on designing adequate aftercare following attempts.

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Presented in Session 3: Causes of death