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October 1974

Treatment of Suicide AttemptersA Descriptive Study

Author Affiliations

From St. George's Hospital, London (Dr. Paykel); Yale University School of Medicine and the Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven, Conn (C. Hallowell and M. Weissman); the New Britain General Hospital, New Britain, Conn (Dr. Dressler); and the Manchester Memorial Hospital, Manchester, Conn (Dr. Shapiro).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;31(4):487-491. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760160039009

Treatment patterns and their determinants were examined in suicide attempters coming to an emergency room. Only a small proportion required medical hospitalization.

Forty-four percent were admitted to psychiatric hospitals and 38% referred for outpatient treatment. On follow-up of a sample of outpatient referrals, only half came for their first appointment. Comparisons of treatment groups indicated that the decision to hospitalize was independent of social factors but was strongly related to relevant clinical criteria reflecting severity and suicidal risk.

Choice of facility for hospitalization was related to some nonclinical factors. Reasons for outpatient nonattendance were less clear and its reduction presents a major therapeutic challenge.