Contacts of suicide attempters with healthcare services in Pecs and Bern in the WHO/EURO Multicentre Study on Parasuicide

Peter Osvath, Konrad Michel, Sandor Fekete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to compare patterns of contact made by patients with GPs and other healthcare professionals in two European cities prior to attempting suicide. The objective was to determine whether differences between a public and a private healthcare system could be a possible factor influencing the help-seeking behaviour of suicide attempters. Within the frame of the WHO/EURO Multicentre Study on Parasuicide, structured interviews were conducted with suicide attempters in Pecs, Hungary (n = 101) and Bern, Switzerland (n = 66). In Bern, slightly more patients visited their GPs throughout the year. However, within the last week before the suicide attempt, twice as many Hungarian patients went to see a GP compared with the Bern sample. Almost the same proportion of the patients had suicidal ideation, but in Pecs more than a quarter of them and in Bern half of them talked about their suicidal thoughts. In the Hungarian sample, more patients were prescribed medication and almost half of them used these drugs for self-poisoning compared to over a quarter in Bern. The differences in help-seeking behaviour between the two samples may be related to the higher number of practising GPs and a more consistent patient-doctor relationship in Bern. It is likely that a consistent and personal relationship with a medical helper or system (e.g. GP as gatekeeper) facilitates the communication of suicidal ideation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Attempted suicide
  • Multicentre study
  • Prevention
  • Primary healthcare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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