The WHO/EURO Multicentre Study of Suicidal Behaviour – Monitoring Study investigates the prevalence and characteristics of suicide attempts and repeated attempts in a number of geographically well-defined areas across Europe. The Unit for Suicide Research participates in this study by investigating the epidemiology in the Gent District. Information is collected on attempted suicide patients who require medical attention.

A suicide attempt is defined as “an act with nonfatal outcome, in which an individual deliberately initiates a non-habitual behaviour that, without intervention from others, will cause self-harm, or deliberately ingests a substance in excess of the prescribed or generally recognised therapeutic dosage, and which is aimed at realising changes which the subject desired via the actual or expected physical consequences” (Bille-Brahe et al. 1994).

A differentiation is made between person-based and event-based rates. Event based rates describe the number of suicide attempts per 100.000 inhabitants in one year. Person-based rates refer to the number of persons per 100.000 inhabitants attempting suicide once or more that year. Reported gender- and age- specific rates are person-based