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May 1973

Suicide After Contact With a Suicide Prevention Center

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Suicide Prevention Center, Inc., and the Institute for Studies of Self-Destructive Behaviors, Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(5):735-739. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750350103019

Eight persons committed suicide after being in touch with the Suicide Prevention Center of Los Angeles. A follow-up study was conducted in 1970 by reinterviewing a random sample of the 8,400 persons who called the center in 1968. Of 417 subjects, 16 were dead, nine by suicide—about 2%. Worksheets on eight of these suicide cases were retrieved. Additional information was obtained by interviewing relatives, friends, counselors, physicians, and employers.

The subjects' deaths resulted from their lifestyles (suicidal careers) and were relatively independent of the emergency crises which had existed at the time they were in touch with the Suicide Prevention Center. Suicide was associated more with gradual exhaustion of resources than with sudden stress or loss.

An experimental antisuicide program featuring continuing relationship maintenance for persons leading suicidal careers is described.