Does Availability of Mental Health Resources Prevent Recurrent Suicidal Behavior? An Ecological Analysis

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Abstract

This study examines whether availability of mental health resources in the county of residence is associated with subsequent suicidal behavior after a previous suicide attempt. Among 10,922 individuals who attempted suicide in Colorado between 1998 and 2002, residence in a county that offered a minimum safety-net of mental health services significantly reduced the risk of suicidal behavior for at least 1 year after the index attempt. Safety-net services included mental health treatment, crisis treatment, and case management. These results suggest one strategy for prevention of suicidal behavior that could inform state-level health policy development and resource allocation.

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