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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak may have affected the mental health of patients at high risk of suicide. In this study we explored the wish to die and other suicide risk factors using smartphone-based ecological momentary assessment (EMA) in patients with a history of suicidal thoughts and behaviour. Contrary to our expectations we found a decrease in the wish to die during lockdown. This is consistent with previous studies showing that suicide rates decrease during periods of social emergency. Smartphone-based EMA can allow us to remotely assess patients and overcome the physical barriers imposed by lockdown.
The association between suicide attempts (SAs) in parents and children is unclear, and risk indicators for intergenerational transmission remain undocumented. We aimed to assess this association, considering the child's developmental period at the time of parents' attempted suicide, and the parental relation.
Using a prospective cohort design, nationwide population data were linked to the Psychiatric Central Register and National Patient Register for all individuals aged 10 years or older living in Denmark between 1980 and 2016. We assessed incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and cumulative hazards for children's first SA.
In a cohort of 4 419 651 children, 163 056 (3.7%) had experienced a parental SA. An SA was recorded among 6996 (4.3%) of the exposed children as opposed to 70112 (1.6%) in unexposed individuals. Higher rates were noted when a parental SA occurred during early childhood (0 ⩽ age < 2) [IRR, 4.7; 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.2–5.4] v. late childhood (6 ⩽ age < 13) (IRR, 3.6; 95% CI 3.4–3.8) when compared to those unexposed. Children exposed prior to age 2 had the highest rates of all sub-groups when reaching age 13–17 (IRR, 6.5; 95% CI 6.0–7.1) and 18–25 years (IRR, 6.8; 95% CI 6.2–7.4). Maternal SA (IRR, 3.4; 95% CI 3.2–3.5) was associated with higher rates than paternal (IRR, 2.8; 95% CI 2.7–2.9).
Parental SA was associated with children's own SA. Exposure during early developmental stages was associated with the highest rates. Early preventive efforts are warranted as is monitoring of suicide risk in the children from age 13.
The occurrence of early childhood adversity is strongly linked to later self-harm, but there is poor understanding of how this distal risk factor might influence later behaviours. One possible mechanism is through an earlier onset of puberty in children exposed to adversity, since early puberty is associated with an increased risk of adolescent self-harm. We investigated whether early pubertal timing mediates the association between childhood adversity and later self-harm.
Participants were 6698 young people from a UK population-based birth cohort (ALSPAC). We measured exposure to nine types of adversity from 0 to 9 years old, and self-harm when participants were aged 16 and 21 years. Pubertal timing measures were age at peak height velocity (aPHV – males and females) and age at menarche (AAM). We used generalised structural equation modelling for analyses.
For every additional type of adversity; participants had an average 12–14% increased risk of self-harm by 16. Relative risk (RR) estimates were stronger for direct effects when outcomes were self-harm with suicidal intent. There was no evidence that earlier pubertal timing mediated the association between adversity and self-harm [indirect effect RR 1.00, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00–1.00 for aPHV and RR 1.00, 95% CI 1.00–1.01 for AAM].
A cumulative measure of exposure to multiple types of adversity does not confer an increased risk of self-harm via early pubertal timing, however both childhood adversity and early puberty are risk factors for later self-harm. Research identifying mechanisms underlying the link between childhood adversity and later self-harm is needed to inform interventions.
Examining social networks, characterized by interpersonal interactions across family, peer, school, and neighborhoods, offer alternative explanations to suicidal behaviors and shape effective suicide prevention. This study examines adolescent social networks predicting suicide ideation and attempt trajectories transitioning to adulthood, while revealing differences across racial/ethnic, sex, sexual identity, and socioeconomic status.
Participants included 9421 high school students (Mage = 15.30 years; 54.58% females, baseline) from Waves I–IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, 1994–2008. Latent class growth analyses were conducted to identify suicide ideation and attempt trajectories. Multivariate multinomial logistic regressions examined the relationships between social network characteristics during adolescence and suicidal trajectories. Interaction terms between social networks and sociodemographic characteristics were included to test moderation effects.
Three suicidal ideation trajectories (low-stable, high-decreasing, moderate-decreasing-increasing) and two suicide attempt trajectories (low-stable, moderate-decreasing) were identified. Greater family cohesion significantly reduced the probability of belonging to high-decreasing (Trajectory 2) and moderate-decreasing-increasing (Trajectory 3) suicidal ideation trajectories, and moderate-decreasing (Trajectory 2) suicide attempt trajectory. Race/ethnicity, sex, and sexual identity significantly moderated the associations between social networks (household size, peer network density, family cohesion, peer support, neighborhood support) and suicidal trajectories.
Social networks during adolescence influenced the odds of belonging to distinct suicidal trajectories. Family cohesion protected youth from being in high-risk developmental courses of suicidal behaviors. Social networks, especially quality of interactions, may improve detecting adolescents and young adults at-risk for suicide behaviors. Network-based interventions are key to prevent suicidal behaviors over time and suicide intervention programming.
Varied longitudinal courses of suicidal ideation (SI) may be linked to unique sets of risk and protective factors.
A national probability sample of 2291 U.S. veterans was followed over four assessments spanning 7 years to examine how a broad range of baseline risk and protective factors predict varying courses of SI.
Most veterans (82.6%) denied SI at baseline and all follow-ups, while 8.7% had new onset SI, 5.4% chronic SI, and 3.3% remitted SI. Compared to the no-SI group, chronic SI was associated with childhood trauma, baseline major depressive and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (MDD/PTSD), physical health difficulties, and recent traumatic stressors. Remitted veterans had the highest risk of a prior suicide attempt (SA) compared to no-SI [relative risk ratio (RRR) = 3.31] and chronic SI groups (RRR = 4.65); and high rates of MDD/PTSD (RRR = 7.62). New onset SI was associated with recent stressors and physical health difficulties. All symptomatic SI groups reported decrements in protective factors, specifically, social connectedness, trait curiosity/exploration, and purpose in life.
Nearly one-in-five veterans reported SI over a 7-year period, most of whom evidenced new onset or remitted SI courses. Chronic and remitted SI may represent particularly high-risk SI courses; the former was associated with higher rates of prospective SA, and psychiatric and physical distress, and the latter with increased likelihood of prior SA, and isolation from social and mental health supports. Physical disability, MDD/PTSD, and recent stressors may be important precipitating or maintaining factors of SI, while social connectedness may be a key target for suicide prevention efforts.
Suicide prediction models have been formulated in a variety of ways and are heterogeneous in the strength of their predictions. Machine learning has been a proposed as a way of improving suicide predictions by incorporating more suicide risk factors.
To determine whether machine learning and the number of suicide risk factors included in suicide prediction models are associated with the strength of the resulting predictions.
Random-effect meta-analysis of exploratory suicide prediction models constructed by combining two or more suicide risk factors or using clinical judgement (Prospero Registration CRD42017059665). Studies were located by searching for papers indexed in PubMed before 15 August 2020 with the term suicid* in the title.
In total, 86 papers reported 102 suicide prediction models and included 20 210 411 people and 106 902 suicides. The pooled odds ratio was 7.7 (95% CI 6.7–8.8) with high between-study heterogeneity (I2 = 99.5). Machine learning was associated with a non-significantly higher odds ratio of 11.6 (95% CI 6.0–22.3) and clinical judgement with a non-significantly lower odds ratio of 4.7 (95% CI 2.1–10.9). Models including a larger number of suicide risk factors had a higher odds ratio when machine-learning studies were included (P = 0.02). Among non-machine-learning studies, suicide prediction models including fewer risk factors performed just as well as those including more risk factors.
Machine learning might have the potential to improve the performance of suicide prediction models by increasing the number of included suicide risk factors but its superiority over other methods is unproven.
Clinical assessments are a primary method for ascertaining suicide risk, yet the language used across measures is inconsistent. The implications of these discrepancies for adolescent responding are unknown, which is troubling as multiple research areas (i.e. on culture, mental health language, and suicide communication) indicate individuals from varying sociodemographic backgrounds may communicate differently regarding mental health concerns. The aims of the current study are to investigate whether a geographically diverse sample of adolescents respond differently to directly and indirectly phrased suicide attempt questions (i.e. directly phrased includes the term ‘suicide’ and indirectly asks about suicidal behavior without using ‘suicide’), and to examine whether sociodemographic factors and history of mental health service usage relate to endorsement differences.
Participants were N = 5909 adolescents drawn from the Emergency Department Screening for Teens at Risk for Suicide multi-site study. The lifetime suicide attempt was assessed with two items from an adapted version of the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS; Posner et al., 2008): (1) a directly phrased question asking about ‘suicide attempts’ and (2) an indirectly phrased question providing the definition of an attempt.
An adolescent majority (83.7%) consistently reported no lifetime suicide attempt across items, 10.1% consistently reported one or more lifetime attempts across items, and 6.2% of adolescents responded discordantly to the items.
Multivariable models indicated multiple demographic and mental health service variables significantly predicted discordant responding, with a notable finding being that father/stepfather education level at or below high school education predicted endorsing only the direct question.
The Zero Suicide framework is a system-wide approach to prevent suicides in health services. It has been implemented worldwide but has a poor evidence-base of effectiveness.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the Zero Suicide framework, implemented in a clinical suicide prevention pathway (SPP) by a large public mental health service in Australia, in reducing repeated suicide attempts after an index attempt.
A total of 604 persons with 737 suicide attempt presentations were identified between 1 July and 31 December 2017. Relative risk for a subsequent suicide attempt within various time periods was calculated using cross-sectional analysis. Subsequently, a 10-year suicide attempt history (2009–2018) for the cohort was used in time-to-recurrent-event analyses.
Placement on the SPP reduced risk for a repeated suicide attempt within 7 days (RR = 0.29; 95% CI 0.11–0.75), 14 days (RR = 0.38; 95% CI 0.18–0.78), 30 days (RR = 0.55; 95% CI 0.33–0.94) and 90 days (RR = 0.62; 95% CI 0.41–0.95). Time-to-recurrent event analysis showed that SPP placement extended time to re-presentation (HR = 0.65; 95% CI 0.57–0.67). A diagnosis of personality disorder (HR = 2.70; 95% CI 2.03–3.58), previous suicide attempt (HR = 1.78; 95% CI 1.46–2.17) and Indigenous status (HR = 1.46; 95% CI 0.98–2.25) increased the hazard for re-presentation, whereas older age decreased it (HR = 0.92; 95% CI 0.86–0.98). The effect of the SPP was similar across all groups, reducing the risk of re-presentation to about 65% of that seen in those not placed on the SPP.
This paper demonstrates a reduction in repeated suicide attempts after an index attempt and a longer time to a subsequent attempt for those receiving multilevel care based on the Zero Suicide framework.
Suicide and cardiovascular disease rank among the leading causes of disability and premature mortality worldwide. Young adult suicide attempters are at increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease even compared to those with major depressive disorder suggesting an increased burden of cardiovascular risk factors. We compared the cardiovascular risk burden between youth attempters and other high-risk individuals.
Participants were from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES), a U.S. population-based study, aged 18–30 years [suicide attempt (SA): n = 303; suicidal ideation (SI): n = 451; controls: n = 3671]; and psychiatric inpatients admitted for a SA (n = 38) or SI (n = 40) and healthy controls (n = 37) aged 15–30 years. We computed a cardiovascular risk score and high- and low-risk latent classes based on risk factors of high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking.
Suicide attempters showed an increased cardiovascular risk score (CPES: B = 0.43, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.31–0.54, p < 0.001; inpatient sample: B = 1.61, 95% CI 0.53–2.68, p = 0.004) compared to controls. They were also more likely to be classified in the high cardiovascular risk group (CPES: odds ratio (OR) 3.36, 95% CI 1.67–6.78, p = 0.001; inpatient sample: OR 9.89, 95% CI 1.38–85.39, p = 0.03) compared to those with SI (CPES: OR 1.15, 95% CI 0.55–2.39, p = 0.71; inpatient sample: OR 1.91, 95% CI 0.25–15.00, p = 0.53).
Youth attempters show an increased burden for cardiovascular risk compared to other high-risk individuals in inpatient and population-based samples. Clinicians should pay particular attention to cardiovascular risk factors among suicide attempters in order to reduce their risk for cardiovascular events.
We aimed to identify groups of children presenting distinct perinatal adversity profiles and test the association between profiles and later risk of suicide attempt.
Data were from the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD, N = 1623), and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, N = 5734). Exposures to 32 perinatal adversities (e.g. fetal, obstetric, psychosocial, and parental psychopathology) were modeled using latent class analysis, and associations with a self-reported suicide attempt by age 20 were investigated with logistic regression. We investigated to what extent childhood emotional and behavioral problems, victimization, and cognition explained the associations.
In both cohorts, we identified five profiles: No perinatal risk, Poor fetal growth, Socioeconomic adversity, Delivery complications, Parental mental health problems (ALSPAC only). Compared to children with No perinatal risk, children in the Poor fetal growth (pooled estimate QLSCD-ALSPAC, OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.04–3.44), Socioeconomic adversity (pooled-OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.08–1.85), and Parental mental health problems (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.27–2.40), but not Delivery complications, profiles were more likely to attempt suicide. The proportion of this effect mediated by the putative mediators was larger for the Socioeconomic adversity profile compared to the others.
Perinatal adversities associated with suicide attempt cluster in distinct profiles. Suicide prevention may begin early in life and requires a multidisciplinary approach targeting a constellation of factors from different domains (psychiatric, obstetric, socioeconomic), rather than a single factor, to effectively reduce suicide vulnerability. The way these factors cluster together also determined the pathways leading to a suicide attempt, which can guide decision-making on personalized suicide prevention strategies.
There is increasing evidence that domestic violence (DV) is an important risk factor for suicidal behaviour. The level of risk and its contribution to the overall burden of suicidal behaviour among men and women has not been quantified in South Asia. We carried out a large case-control study to examine the association between DV and self-poisoning in Sri Lanka.
Cases (N = 291) were patients aged ⩾18 years, admitted to a tertiary hospital in Kandy Sri Lanka for self-poisoning. Sex and age frequency matched controls were recruited from the hospital's outpatient department (N = 490) and local population (N = 450). Exposure to DV was collected through the Humiliation, Afraid, Rape, Kick questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression models were conducted to estimate the association between DV and self-poisoning, and population attributable fractions were calculated.
Exposure to at least one type of DV within the previous 12 months was strongly associated with self-poisoning for women [adjusted OR (AOR) 4.08, 95% CI 1.60–4.78] and men (AOR 2.52, 95% CI 1.51–4.21), compared to those reporting no abuse. Among women, the association was strongest for physical violence (AOR 14.07, 95% CI 5.87–33.72), whereas among men, emotional abuse showed the highest risk (AOR 2.75, 95% CI 1.57–4.82). PAF% for exposure to at least one type of DV was 38% (95% CI 32–43) in women and 22% (95% CI 14–29) in men.
Multi-sectoral interventions to address DV including enhanced identification in health care settings, community-based strategies, and integration of DV support and psychological services may substantially reduce suicidal behaviour in Sri Lanka.
A few previous studies suggest that a large number of individuals do not present at hospital following a suicide attempt, complicating recurrence prevention and prevalence estimation.
Data were extracted from a regular phone survey in representative samples of the French population aged 18–75 years old. Five surveys between 2000 and 2017 collected data about the occurrence of a previous suicide attempt and subsequent care contacts. A total of 102,729 individuals were surveyed. Among them, 6,500 (6.4%) reported a lifetime history of suicide attempt.
Following their last suicide attempt, 39.3% reported they did not present to hospital (53.4% in 18–24 year-olds), with limited changes in rates with time. Risk factors for non-presentation were being male [adjusted odds ratio = 1.3, 95% confidence interval (1.1–1.5)], living with someone [1.2 (1.0–1.4)], being a non-smoker [1.4 (1.2–1.6)], and being younger at time of attempt [0.97 (0.96–0.98) per year]. Of those who did not present to hospital, only 37.7% reported visiting a doctor or a psychiatrist/psychologist after their act v. 67.1% in those who presented to hospital (as a second health contact). In both cases, half disclosed their act to someone else. Prevalence rates of suicide attempts reported in community were 4.6 times higher than those in hospital administrative databases.
This survey at a national level confirmed that a large proportion of individuals does not go to the hospital and does not meet any health care professionals following a suicidal act. Assessment of unmet needs is necessary.
The aim of the study was to examine how school counsellors cope with suicide attempts among students in their schools. A qualitative phenomenological methodology was used. Participants included 24 Israeli high school counsellors aged 32–62. All interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analysed thematically. The findings indicate that counsellors find students’ suicide attempts difficult, disconcerting, painful and confusing to manage, and note the complex nature of their dealings with the adolescents, their families and the school administrators. Despite feeling insecure about their ability to provide help, the counsellors felt they were at the forefront of the treatment effort in the school environment. To cope with the responsibility and challenges, the counsellors relied mainly on informal sources of support. Implications for practice are discussed.
It has been well established that suicidal behavior is familial. Twin studies provide a unique opportunity to distinguish genetic effects from other familial influences. Consistent with findings from previous twin studies, including case series and selected samples, data from the population-based Swedish Twin Registry clearly demonstrate the importance of genetic influences on suicide. Twin studies of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts also implicate genetic influences, even when accounting for the effects of psychopathology. Future work is needed to evaluate the possibility of age and gender differences in heritability of suicide and nonfatal suicidal behavior.
To investigate predictors for repetition of suicide attempts 1–12 months after a suicide attempt.
Two hundred and sixteen patients who had made a suicide attempt were investigated after 1 month, and 178 were followed up again after 12 months.
During 1–12 months after the suicide attempt, 30 patients reattempted suicide (repeaters). During 0–1 month 13 patients had reattempted suicide (early repeaters), and nine of them also repeated between 1 and 12 months. Repeaters had more often made three or more attempts before index attempt, they more often were in treatment at the index attempt and at 1 month they had lower global functioning and higher suicide ideation. In a Cox Regression analysis two predictors for repetition between 1 and 12 months remained significant; early repetition (OR 6.7, 95% CI, 3.0–14.9) and having GAF-scores below 49 (median cut-off) (OR 3.4 (95% CI, 1.5–7.5).
Our findings suggest that repetitive behaviour in itself is a strong predictor of future attempts. Strategies focusing on the repetitive behaviour are warranted.
All suicide attempts cannot predict suicide, therefore we examined those characteristics of suicide attempt which could most accurately predict completed suicide.
Subject and methods:
Subjects were all individuals registered as committed suicides (N = 16,522) or attempted suicides (N = 15,057) in the register of suicides of the Republic of Slovenia between 1970 and 1996. Log linear analysis of a frequency table was used to uncover relationship between categorical variables.
The model we found fit between variables: mode, number of repetitions and type, then between number of repetitions, type and gender, and between mode, type and gender.
The risk of suicide in those who previously attempted suicide is approximately 773 times higher than the risk of suicide without a previous suicide attempt. Those who attempt suicide by hanging (hanging being in Slovenia the most frequent mode of completed suicide) are at even greater risk to commit suicide.
Our data suggests that clinicians should heighten their awareness that any suicide attempt can in some 20% predict suicide. Someone who has attempted suicide by hanging is at the highest risk of suicide.
After parasuicide there is a high risk of reattempts. However, it seems that patients who survived severe suicidal trauma recover well. Therefore, the outcome of patients with severe multiple blunt trauma as a result of a suicide attempt was investigated with respect to psychiatric and somatic health, quality of life (QOL) and suicide reattempt rates.
Patients who underwent a suicide attempt were isolated from a prospectively collected sample of trauma patients from a level I University Trauma Centre. Follow-up examination was performed 6.1 ± 3 years after the trauma. A physical and psychiatric examination was performed, using established psychiatric scales.
Twelve percent of severely injured patients were identified as suicide attempters (male/female: 37/28, mean age 38 ± 18 years, mean Injury Severity Score (ISS) 40 ± 15 points). A psychiatric diagnosis was present in 90% at the time of the suicide attempt. Twenty-one patients died during the hospital stay (32%) and six subjects died thereafter, none due to suicide. Thirty-five individuals were eligible for examination. None of them had reattempted suicide. Seventeen (48%) had good outcomes reflected by absent or ambulatory psychiatric treatment, employment, normal psychiatric findings and good psychosocial ability. An indeterminate outcome was determined in 24%. Predictive variables for an adverse outcome (10 patients, 28%) were found to be a diagnosis of schizophrenia, continued psychiatric treatment and being without employment.
Despite the seriousness of the suicide attempt, survivors recovered well in about half the cases with no further suicide attempt in any patient. An early psychiatric consultation already on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is recommended.
This study attempted to determine the prevalence of childhood trauma among women in the general population as assessed in a representative sample from a city in central Turkey. The Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) was administered to 628 women in 500 homes. They were also asked for childhood abuse and/or neglect. DES was administered to 251 probands. Mean age of the probands was 34.8 ± 11.5 years (range 18–65). Sixteen women (2.5%) reported sexual abuse, 56 women (8.9%) physical abuse, and 56 women (8.9%) emotional abuse in childhood. The most frequently reported childhood trauma was neglect (n = 213, 33.9%). The prevalence of suicide attempts was 4.5% (n = 28). Fourteen probands (2.2%) reported self-mutilative behavior.
In the 1980s, suicide rates in Denmark were among the highest in the world. In 1992, a Suicide Prevention Centre was opened in Copenhagen with a 2-week programme of social and psychological treatment. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of the Suicide Prevention Centre.
In a quasi-experimental study, 362 patients in the Suicide Prevention Centre and a parallel comparison group of 39 patients were interviewed with European Parasuicide Study Interviewer Schedule I (EPSIS I), which is a comprehensive interview including several validated scales. All patients were invited to follow-up interviews with EPSIS II and followed in the National Patients Register and the Cause of Death Register.
At the 1-year follow-up, 59% of patients in the intervention group and 53% of patients in the comparison groups were interviewed with EPSIS II. The intervention group obtained a significantly greater improvement in Beck’s Depression Inventory, Hopelessness Scale, Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale and CAGE-score and a significantly lower repetition rate.
Although the design cannot exclude selection bias, it seems likely that the improvement in the intervention group was facilitated by the treatment.
Physicians have a higher suicide rate than the general population or other academics. Little is known about the reasons for this. Analysing risk factors may be a valuable way of identifying reasons for the high suicide rate among physicians, thereby leading to preventive efforts. The present study is one of the first papers on suicidal thoughts and attempts among physicians. A questionnaire about suicidal thoughts (developed by E.S. Paykel) was completed by 1,063 of 1,476 active Norwegian physicians (72%). Lifetime prevalence ranged from 51.1% for feelings that life was not worth living to 1.6% for a suicide attempt. Risk factors were being female, living alone, and depression. Suicidal thoughts, however, were hardly attributed to working conditions. A high rate of suicide and a low rate of suicidal attempts support the hypothesis that physicians do not ‘cry for help,' but are inclined to act out their suicidal impulses.