Statement of purpose The purpose of this study is to retrospectively examine youth suicide attempts over a 20 month period in an effort to identify time periods of high frequency.
Methods/approach A retrospective cohort study was conducted. Four data sources were queried to identify encounters of patients 5–18 years of age presenting to two hospitals in Central Texas due to self-directed violence between 1/1/2011 and 8/31/2012. The 1,903 encounters identified screened to assess if they met classification requirements for suicide attempts. Descriptive statistics and graphs examined demographics and trends of suicide attempts over the 20 month period.
Results Of the 231 patients presenting due to a suicide attempt, the majority were female (76%), non-Hispanic white (48%), presented due to ingestion (65%), and had public insurance (55%). Patients averaged 14.74 years of age (SD = 2.00). When examining trends, there was a visually significant increase in suicide attempts during the spring and fall. Females and males both had the highest frequency of suicide attempts in the spring. White non-Hispanics had an equally high frequency of suicide attempts in the spring and the fall. Hispanics and black non-Hispanics had the greatest frequency in the spring.
Conclusions In this sample of Central Texas youth, females and non-Hispanic white patients had the highest frequency of presenting to the hospital due to a suicide attempt. When looking for trends across the calendar year, fall and spring showed the highest frequency of suicide attempts. This pattern was consistent across genders and races/ethnicities.
Significance and contributions Findings from this study provide evidence for needing suicide prevention specialists to target suicide prevention efforts at the beginning and prior to the end of the school year in order to best reach at-risk youth. Future research is needed to examine reasons for the increase in suicide attempts during these time periods.
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