The Health of the Nation asserts that the suicide rate in England and Wales can be reduced by the provision of better health care services. In a sample of suicides in one district health authority, 61% had had contact with health services during the year prior to death, suggesting that improvements in these services could have an impact on the overall suicide rate. However, the proportion who had had prior contact varied between different age and sex groups and individuals in groups with the higher suicide rates tended to have the least contact. Therefore, the impact of health service improvements on the overall suicide rate may be limited.
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