Evaluation of attempted-suicide management in a rural district of KwaZulu-Natal

D C T Nakin, G Joubert, P J Pretorius, M J V van Vuuren


Objectives. Critical aspects in the management of attempted-suicide patients have been identified in the literature. The aim of this study was to determine which of these aspects were included in the management of patients who attempted suicide in a rural district of KwaZulu-Natal.

Design. Descriptive study. Setting. The two hospitals in a rural district of KwaZulu-Natal.

Subjects. Attempted-suicide patients admitted to the above two hospitals between 1 June 2001 and 31 March 2002.Outcome measures. Patients were interviewed regarding how they were managed and were followed up until 3 months after the attempted suicide.

Results. Medicine was given to 41% of participants on admission and 64% were counselled by a doctor. A no-suicide contract was entered into in 42% of counselled cases. Family therapy, social worker involvement and psychiatric referral were very low and there was no involvement of friends, teachers or priests.

Conclusion. Management of patients who attempted suicide in this district is inadequate as there are no proper policy guidelines. It is important that health caregivers be trained in psychiatry.

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v13i2.28

Submitted: 04 October 2007
Published: 01 June 2007

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)