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The authors designed a questionnaire to investigate the differences in German and Japanese general practitioners? (GP) awareness of suicide and attitudes toward patients with suicidal ideation in their respective societies. The purpose of this study was to obtain insights leading to a better means of suicide prevention in primary care in Japan. The background for conducting the study was declining suicides in the past 20 years and the lower suicide rate in Germany compared with the present situation in Japan, where the number of suicides has in recent years continued to exceed 30,000, resulting in a suicide rate approximately 2 times higher than that in Germany. The questionnaire was randomly mailed to GPs in Okayama-Prefecture (western Japan) and Hamburg-State (northern Germany) and was collected in the same way. The patterns of answers were compared between the 2 countries, and the differences were statistically analyzed. Japanese GPs seem to have a lower will to prevent suicide in daily practice compared to German GPs and a great lack of knowledge about treatment of suicidal patients. These observations suggest that improving GPs? interest in the problem of suicide and providing training programs for the treatment of patients with suicidal intentions might be a means of achieving better suicide prevention in Japan.
Acta Medica Okayama
Okayama University Medical School
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