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Epidemiology of suicide attempts in a public health care area: the perspective of an emergency medical service

V√°zquez Lima MJ, √Ālvarez Rodr√≠guez C, L√≥pez-Rivadulla Lamas M, Cruz Landeira A, Abell√°s √Ālvarez C

Servicio de Urgencias del Hospital do Salnés, Villagarcía, Pontevedra, Spain. Servicio de Urgencias del Hospital de Verín, Orense, Spain. Toxicología de la Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Enfermería del Servicio de Urgencias, Hospital do Salnés, Pontevedra, Spain.

Objectives: To determine the rate of attempted suicide in the health care area of Salnés,
Spain, attended by the assigned emergency medical service (EMS) provider and to
analyze epidemiologic variables.
Methods: Retrospective study of all suicide attempts attended by the EMS over a 5-year
period. Data analyzed were day and time emergency care was given, age of the patient,
sex, history of psychiatric disease, alcoholism, drug abuse, and history of attempted
Results: A total of 285 attempts were on record (annual incidence, 76.1/100 000
population). The mean (SD) age was 35 (15) years and 58.9% were women. A history of
psychiatric disease was present in 74.4% of the patients, and 46.7% had attempted suicide
before. This history was more common in patients in the age range of 18-65 years. Women
attempted suicide more often than men. A history of multiple drug abuse and alcoholism was
more common in the men who attempted suicide than in the women. Fewer attempts
occurred in February and on Wednesdays.

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