Psychological Medicine

Original Articles

The management of non-compliance with referral to out-patient after-care among attempted suicide patients: a controlled intervention study

C. Van Heeringena1 c1, S. Jannesa1, W. Buylaerta1, H. Hendericka1, D. De Bacquera1 and J. Van Remoortela1

a1 Departments of Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine and Public Health, University Hospital Gent and the Association for Mental Health, Gent, Belgium


The failure to comply with referral for out-patient after-care is a well-documented problem among attempted suicide patients. The present study aimed at the investigation of an experimental referral procedure by means of a randomized controlled study. Non-compliant patients in the experimental group were visited in their homes by a community nurse in order to assess reasons for non-compliance and to motivate patients to comply with referral. One year after their suicide attempt patients were visited in their homes in order to assess repetition of suicidal behaviour. Uni-and multi-variate analyses showed a significant beneficial effect of the experimental procedure on compliance with referral. A near-significant effect of the experimental procedure on the rate of repetition of suicidal behaviour was found.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr C. van Heeringen, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Gent, Belgium.