The low cost strategy including a one-hour information session about suicidal behaviours, risk factors, constructive coping strategies and referral options has the potential to reduce the economic and societal loss of young people in their most productive years of life.
The researchers found that the subsequent suicide deaths reduced from 2.2 per cent in people treated with usual care to 0.2 per cent in the people given extra contact.
The intervention program included nine follow-up phone calls or visits by a health professional for 18 months following the patient's discharge from an emergency department.
"Many suicidal patients lack good communication and relationships within their family and with other people," said researchers.
The strategy not only made them feel connected but also improved their capability of solving crises, which may otherwise lead to suicidal behaviour
"Also, systematic follow-up contacts gave the patient a feeling of being seen and heard by someone," they added.