Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Psychosocial Interventions Reduce Risk of Suicidality, Study Finds

A course of eight to 10 sessions of psychotherapy following an incident of deliberate self-harm can help reduce the risk of another such episode, general mortality, and—over the long run—death by suicide, according to research reported by Annette Erlangsen, Ph.D., of the University of Copenhagen, and colleagues online November 24 in the Lancet. The study matched nearly 5,700 people who reported deliberate self-harm and who received psychosocial therapy at suicide-prevention clinics with 17,000 people who did get such therapy. Patients were not randomized to one of the treatment types, and varying types of treatment were used.

In the first year of follow-up, 6.7% of those receiving the psychotherapy intervention recorded another episode of self-harm, compared with 9% of those who did not get therapy. All-cause mortality was also lower in the former group, but rates of completed suicide were not significantly different.

Over a 20-year follow-up, the odds ratio for death by suicide was 0.75 and for death by any cause was 0.69. Younger people, those aged 10 to 24, benefited more than older ones from the psychotherapy intervention. Results were driven mainly by the outcomes among female patients, while outcome differences in male participants were not statistically significant.

“Based on the calculated numbers needed to treat, as many as 145 repeated self-harm episodes and 153 deaths, 30 by suicide, might have been prevented by the psychosocial therapy intervention...,” the researchers concluded.

To read more about research on suicide prevention, see the Psychiatric News article “Big Trial Tests Suicidality and Prevention in Real World.” Also see The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Suicide Assessment and Management, Second Edition.

(aml; Image: WaveBreakMedia/Shutterstock)


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