Suïcide-naonderzoek 'Vogelenzang' 1978
The results of an enquiry into suicide amongst the inpatients of a psychiatrie hospital during the period 1970 to 1979, were reported sometime ago in the pages of this journal. The present article is the description of a followup enquiry on suicide amongst the patients who were discharged from the same hospital (as inpatients or outpatients) during the year 1978, is a retrospective enquiry. Patients who were discharged any time during the year 1978 were followed up for a period ranging from minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 2 years, since the time of their discharge from treatment. The enquiry was conductedby means of a questionnaire which was sent to the family doctors of the patients. During the year under review (1978) 527 patients were discharged from the inpatients service and 778 patients were discharged from the outpatients services. Filled in questionnaires were returned in respect of 370 inpatients and 618 outpatients. The questionnaire attempted to ascertain as to whether or not there had been a suicide or an attempt at suicide, whether or not the patient was still under treatment, whether or not he was readmitted in the meanwhile and whether or not he still used medication. This results of this enquiry suggest that prior to a suicide, there is often a catastrophic turbulance in the inpatients relationships frequently leading to a total breakup. Although it is not possible to demonstrate a causal relationship between the breakup in the relationship and the suicide, the study does point out that a good supportive contact with the patients needs to be maintained whenever a patient is undergoing changes either in his life situation or in his treatment-situation. Furthermore, it serves to highlight that continuity of care from the time of admission to the time of discharge or transfer to another treatment setting can be a crucial factor in suicide and therefore needs to be ensured.