The effect of the SAFE intervention on post-discharge suicidal behavior: a quasi-experimental study using propensity score matching

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OBJECTIVES: The risk of suicidal behavior after discharge from psychiatric admission is high. The aim of this study was to examine whether the SAFE intervention, an implementation of a systematic safer discharge procedure, was associated with a reduction in suicidal behavior after discharge.

METHODS: The SAFE intervention was implemented at Mental Health Center Copenhagen in March 2018 and consisted of three systematic discharge procedures: (1) A face-to-face meeting between patient and outpatient staff prior to discharge, (2) A face-to-face meeting within the first week after discharge, and (3) Involvement of relatives. Risk of suicide attempt at six-month post-discharge among patients discharged from the SAFE intervention was compared with patients discharged from comparison mental health centers using propensity score matching.

RESULTS: 7604 discharges took place at the intervention site, which were 1:1 matched with discharges from comparison sites. During the six months of follow-up, a total of 570 suicide attempts and 25 suicides occurred. The rate of suicide attempt was 11,652 per 100,000 person-years at the SAFE site, while it was 10,530 at comparisons sites. No observable difference in suicide attempt 1.10 (95% CI: 0.89-1.35) or death by suicide (OR = 1.27; 95% CI:0.58-2.81) was found between sites at 6-month follow-up.

CONCLUSION: No difference in suicidal behavior between the sites was found in this pragmatic study. High rates of suicidal behavior were found during the 6-months discharge period, which could suggest that a preventive intervention should include support over a longer post-discharge period than the one-week follow-up offered in the SAFE intervention.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Pages (from-to)1053–1061
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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© 2023. The Author(s).

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