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Trends in suicidal behaviour in Dutch general practice 1983–2013: a retrospective observational study.

Beurs, D.P. de, Hooiveld, M., Kerkhof, A.J.F.M., Korevaar, J.C., Donker, G.A. Trends in suicidal behaviour in Dutch general practice 1983–2013: a retrospective observational study. BMJ Open: 2016, 6(5), e010868
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Objectives
To analyse trends in suicidal behaviour as reported by the Dutch sentinel general practices from 1983 to 2013. Second, to examine the relationship between suicidal behaviour and several patient characteristics. Finally, to compare the relationship between suicidal behaviour and patient characteristics before (1983–2007) and after (2008–2013) the start of the crisis.

Setting
40 general practices in the Netherlands during the period 1983–2013.

Participants
Patients with an ICPC code of P77 (suicide attempt).

Primary and secondary outcomes
Primary outcomes were age-adjusted and gender-specific trends in reported suicides (342) and suicide attempts (1614). Secondary outcomes were the relationship between suicidal behaviour and age, household composition, history of depression, recognition of suicide ideation, treatment before the suicidal behaviour and contact within the past month before suicidal behaviour for the period 1983–2013. Additionally, separate frequencies for the periods 1983–2007 and 2008–2013 were presented.

Results
Join-point analyses revealed a significant rise in male suicides from 2008 (b=0.32, SE=0.1, p=0.008), and an increase in male suicide attempts since 2009 (b=0.19, SE=0.04, p<0.001). Female suicidal behaviour showed a steady decrease from 1989 to 2013(b=−0.03, SE=0.007, p<0.0001 for female suicide, b=−0.02, SE=0.002, p<0.001 for female attempts). Before 2007, a history of depression was reported in 65% (168/257) of the suicides. After the start of the recession, a depression was recognised in 44% (22/50) of the patients who died by suicide.

Conclusions
Since 2008, there was a rise in the male suicide rate while female suicide behaviour has continued to decline. General practitioners less often reported a history of depression within patients who died due to suicide after 2007 than before. Training in the early recognition of suicide ideation in depressive patients might improve suicide prevention in primary care. (aut. ref.)
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