Last Words: Are There Differences in Psychosocial and Clinical Antecedents Among Suicide Decedents Who Leave E‐Notes, Paper Notes, or No Note?
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OBJECTIVE: Only a minority of suicide decedents leave a suicide note. Typically, the notes are handwritten on paper; however, electronic suicide notes have been reported with increasing frequency. This emerging phenomenon remains generally under-researched. The aim of this study was to compare the psychosocial and clinical antecedents of suicide decedents who left E-notes with those who left paper notes or no notes. METHOD: The study was embedded in the Southwestern Ontario Suicide Study (SOSS). The SOSS was a three-year case series of consecutive deaths by suicide that occurred in the region between 2012 and 2014. Data on psychosocial and clinical antecedents were collected with a modified version of the Manchester questionnaire used in the UK. RESULTS: Of the 476 suicides files reviewed, 45.8% contained a suicide note. A total of 383 separate suicide notes were left: 74.3% were paper notes and 25.7% were E-notes. The results of the multivariate regression analyses indicate that the likelihood of leaving a suicide note was negatively associated with a history of admissions to a mental health unit, while the likelihood of leaving an E-note was negatively associated with age, positively associated with presence of a mental disorder, and negatively associated with history of hospital admissions. CONCLUSIONS: Future studies with larger samples need to consider the timing of the text messages, and appraise whether there was the intent of seeking help or rescue in the text messages.
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