Washington: A new study has found that suicide attempts can be significantly reduced with help of talk therapies.
According to the new research by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, repeated suicide attempts and deaths by suicide were roughly 25 percent lower among a group of Danish people who underwent voluntary short-term psychosocial counseling.
The first of its kind findings show that talk therapy-focused suicide prevention actually works, averting future suicide attempts in this very high-risk population. Although just six-to-ten talk therapy sessions were provided, researchers found long-term benefits: Five years after the counseling ended, there were 26 percent fewer suicides in the group that received treatment as compared to a group that did not.
For the multi-center study led by Annette Erlangsen, the researchers analyzed Danish health data from more than 65,000 people in Denmark who attempted suicide between Jan. 1, 1992 and Dec. 31, 2010. Of that group, they looked at 5,678 people who received psychosocial therapy at 1 of 8 suicide prevention clinics. The researchers then compared their outcomes over time with 17,304 people who had attempted suicide and looked similar on 31 factors but had not gone for treatment afterward. Participants were followed for up to 20 years.
The researchers found that during the first year, those who received therapy were 27 percent less likely to attempt suicide again and 38 percent less likely to die of any cause. After five years, there were 26 percent fewer suicides in the group that had been treated following their attempt. After 10 years, the suicide rate for those who had therapy was 229 per 100,000 compared to 314 per 100,000 in the group that did not get the treatment.
Study's co-author Dr. Elizabeth A. Stuart, said that it was not possible to determine whether a specific suicide prevention treatment was working before this, and their findings provide a solid basis for recommending that this type of therapy be considered for populations at risk for suicide.
The findings are published online in Lancet Psychiatry.