This is an audit of 10 359 calls made to the national mental health helpline SANELINE between January 1996 and June 1998 aiming at describing the profile of suicidal callers.
More calls were by, or about, women. The most common age group for suicidal callers was 25–34 years, while those under 25 were least likely to call the helpline. Fifty-five per cent of all calls related to people suffering from depression, and 31% were for people with psychosis. The majority of sufferers who were planning suicide or were in the act of suicide at the time of the call were in contact with services, and almost three-fifths of sufferers reported problems with services.
There is an urgent need for innovative interventions targeting males and those under 25 years of age.
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