Background One of the most important components of suicide prevention strategies is to target people who repeat self-harm as they are a high risk group. However, there is some evidence that the incidence of repeat self-harm is lower in Asia than in the West. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of previous self-harm among a consecutive series of self-harm patients presenting to hospitals in rural Sri Lanka.
Method Six hundred and ninety-eight self-poisoning patients presenting to medical wards at two hospitals in Sri Lanka were interviewed about their previous episodes of self-harm.
Results Sixty-one (8.7%, 95% CI 6.7-11%) patients reported at least one previous episode of self-harm [37 (10.7%) male, 24 (6.8%) female]; only 19 (2.7%, 95% CI 1.6-4.2%) patients had made more than one previous attempt.
Conclusion The low prevalence of previous self-harm is consistent with previous Asian research and is considerably lower than that seen in the West. Explanations for these low levels of repeat self-harm require investigation. Our data indicate that a focus on the aftercare of those who attempt suicide in Sri Lanka may have a smaller impact on suicide incidence than may be possible in the West.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2011|
- PSYCHOLOGICAL AUTOPSY
- Deliberate self-harm
- Previous self-harm
- Sri Lanka
- Developing countries