More than three quarters of people who died by suicide visited a healthcare provider the year before their death, yet fewer than half received a mental health diagnosis, researchers reported February 25, in the online Journal of General Internal medicine.
‘Many suicides might be prevented if more primary care doctors and specialists receive and use training to identify and treat patients most at risk,’ said Brian K. Ahmedani, PhD, assistant scientist in the center for Health Policy and Health Services Research at the Henry Ford Health Systems, Detroit.
Dr. Ahmedani and his colleagus evaluated the medical records of 5,894 people who had health insurance and died by suicide in eight states btween 2000 and 2010. 83% visited a health care center in the year before they took their lives. However, only 45% were identified as having a mental health condition.
When researchers looked solely at suicide victims who sought healthcare in the four weeks before their death, they found that a mental health diagnosis was made in only 24% of these cases.