[Suicide and suicide attempts in Baerum 1984-95].
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BACKGROUND: Because of the lack of mandatory registration of deliberate self-inflicted injuries in most countries, few longitudinal epidemiological studies on suicide attempts have been published. This seriously impairs the possibilities for longitudinal analyses of suicide attempt rates within and between nations. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The present 12-year (1984-95) surveillance study includes all hospitalised suicide attempt patients (n = 1,031) and all suicides (n = 161) in Baerum, a suburban area outside Oslo, Norway. Statistical analyses were based on the index suicide attempt in the study period (person-based). RESULTS: The suicide attempt rate decreased by 53.5% during the study period, to a rate considerably lower (79/100,000/year in 1995) than in most other study centres in Northern Europe. However, the suicide rate in Baerum is somewhat higher than the Norwegian average, particularly among women. Among the suicide attempt patients, the suicide rate was 2.4% after an average of 6.5 years, which is rather moderate. INTERPRETATIONS: The study may indicate that the follow-up programme for suicide attempt patients in Baerum has contributed to a reduced suicide attempt rate in this community. The suicide figures are too small for any conclusions to be drawn.