Evaluation of Two Different Strategies of an Outpatient Aftercare Program for Suicide Attempters in a General Hospital
At the Klinikum rechts der Isar in Munich, approximately 500 patients per year are admitted to the poisoning treatment unit after suicidal attempts. Medical care is supplemented by psychiatric examination in each case. The majority of patients are referred for psychiatric hospital treatment or for some outpatient therapy or counseling. The determinants of treatment disposal have been discussed elsewhere (Kurz et al. 1985). From 1981 to 1982, we carried out an investigation which was aimed at the improvement of suicide prevention in this setting. From several studies, it is known that suicide attempters are reluctant to make use of counseling and therapy (Paykel et al. 1974; Morgan et al. 1976; Hankoff 1979). The poor compliance may be an important limitation to the efficacy of suicide prevention programs. The first hypothesis of our study was that the patients’ compliance would be improved by providing a continuous therapeutic relationship in the transition from hospital treatment to outpatient care. The second hypothesis was that an improvement of compliance would result in a reduced frequency of further suicidal behavior.
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