Talk Therapy Linked To Lower Suicide Risk

Talk Therapy Linked To Lower Suicide Risk

Talk Therapy Linked To Lower Suicide Risk

Danish study finds multiple sessions help prevent repeat attempts at ending life

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, news release, Nov. 23, 2014

MONDAY, Nov. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Talk therapy significantly reduces suicide attempts and deaths among people who have previously attempted suicide, a new study finds.

The new research included more than 5,600 people in Denmark who underwent six to 10 talk therapy sessions after they attempted suicide. The study also included more than 17,000 people who attempted suicide but received no treatment afterward.

After one year, those who received talk therapy were 27 percent less likely to attempt suicide again. They were also 38 percent less likely to die of any cause than those who didn't receive treatment, the researchers found.

After five years, there were 26 percent fewer suicides in the talk therapy group than in the non-treatment group. After 10 years, the suicide rate in the talk therapy group was 229 per 100,000 compared to 314 per 100,000 in the non-treatment group, according to the study.

Results appear in the Nov. 24 online issue of Lancet Psychiatry.

"We know that people who have attempted suicide are a high-risk population and that we need to help them. However, we did not know what would be effective in terms of treatment," study leader Annette Erlangsen, an adjunct associate professor in the department of mental health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said in a Hopkins news release.

"Now we have evidence that psychosocial treatment -- which provides support, not medication -- is able to prevent suicide in a group at high risk of dying by suicide," she added.

"Our findings provide a solid basis for recommending that this type of therapy be considered for populations at risk for suicide," study co-author Elizabeth Stuart, an associate professor in the Bloomberg School's department of mental health, said in the news release.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about suicide prevention.

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