Characteristics of suicide completers with a psychiatric diagnosis before death: A postmortem study of 98 cases

Shelly Bakst, Tali Braun, Rachel Hirshberg, Inbar Zucker, Tamar Shohat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this research was to classify the deaths of 98 victims of suicide in Tel Aviv, Israel between the years 2007 and 2010. This was done by examining background features and clinical characteristics among suicide completers with histories of a prior psychiatric hospitalization using logistic regression modeling. 34% of the sample (33/98) was given at least one psychiatric diagnosis upon discharge from a prior psychiatric hospitalization. Throughout their lifetime, those with psychiatric diagnoses were significantly more likely to have histories of mental health treatment (psychotherapy and psychotropic medication), psychopathology and suicidality among family members, prior suicide attempts and familial or emotional crisis as compared with those without a psychiatric diagnosis. During their last life phase, those with prior psychiatric diagnoses were also significantly more likely to have received psychotherapeutic treatment, expressed a lack of desire to live and presented with affective symptoms (e.g. depression, anxiety, adaptation difficulty and nervousness) as compared with those without such histories. Thus, focusing on high risk populations, such as those with psychiatric illnesses and deciphering the role of mental health treatment, familial predisposition, prior suicide attempt and sub-clinical symptoms in relation to suicide can inform future prevention practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-563
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2014


  • Close-of-kin interview
  • Mental illness
  • Postmortem investigation
  • Psychological autopsy
  • Suicide risk factors


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