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Background: A randomised clinical trial was carried out in suicide attempters to assess clinical efficacy of an intensive psychosocial intervention compared with treatment as usual. Method: Two hundred and seventy-four suicide attempters presenting for medical treatment were randomly assigned to either intensive psychosocial treatment or 'care as usual'. Intensive psychosocial treatment consisted of brief admission to a special crisis-intervention unit and problem-solving aftercare. 'Care as usual' included any form of treatment the assessing clinicians thought appropriate. Psychological well-being was evaluated by the SCL-90 and the Hopelessness Scale at 3, 6 and 12 months following entry in the study. Results: No differences in outcome were found. The probability of repeat suicide attempts in the 12-month follow-up was 0.17 for patients in the experimental group and 0.15 for the control group. There were no differences in ratings on the SCL-90 and the Hopelessness Scale. Patients in the experimental group attended significantly more out-patient treatment sessions. Conclusions: General implementation of an intensive in-patient and community intervention programme for suicide attempters does not seem justified.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Psychiatry

Publication Date





35 - 41