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Concept: The Complete Manual of Suicide

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BACKGROUND:Ecological studies support the hypothesis that suicide may be “contagious” (i.e., exposure to suicide may increase the risk of suicide and related outcomes). However, this association has not been adequately assessed in prospective studies. We sought to determine the association between exposure to suicide and suicidality outcomes in Canadian youth. METHODS:We used baseline information from the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth between 1998/99 and 2006/07 with follow-up assessments 2 years later. We included all respondents aged 12-17 years in cycles 3-7 with reported measures of exposure to suicide. RESULTS:We included 8766 youth aged 12-13 years, 7802 aged 14-15 years and 5496 aged 16-17 years. Exposure to a schoolmate’s suicide was associated with ideation at baseline among respondents aged 12-13 years (odds ratio [OR] 5.06, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.04-8.40), 14-15 years (OR 2.93, 95% CI 2.02-4.24) and 16-17 years (OR 2.23, 95% CI 1.43-3.48). Such exposure was associated with attempts among respondents aged 12-13 years (OR 4.57, 95% CI 2.39-8.71), 14-15 years (OR 3.99, 95% CI 2.46-6.45) and 16-17 years (OR 3.22, 95% CI 1.62-6.41). Personally knowing someone who died by suicide was associated with suicidality outcomes for all age groups. We also assessed 2-year outcomes among respondents aged 12-15 years: a schoolmate’s suicide predicted suicide attempts among participants aged 12-13 years (OR 3.07, 95% CI 1.05-8.96) and 14-15 years (OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.47-5.04). Among those who reported a schoolmate’s suicide, personally knowing the decedent did not alter the risk of suicidality. INTERPRETATION:We found that exposure to suicide predicts suicide ideation and attempts. Our results support school-wide interventions over current targeted interventions, particularly over strategies that target interventions toward children closest to the decedent.

Concepts: Death, Bipolar disorder, Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide, Parasuicide

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BACKGROUND: Suicide rate trends for Poland, one of the most populous countries in Europe, are not well documented. Moreover, the quality of the official Polish suicide statistics is unknown and requires in-depth investigation. METHODS: Population and mortality data disaggregated by sex, age, manner, and cause were obtained from the Polish Central Statistics Office for the period 1970-2009. Suicides and deaths categorized as ‘undetermined injury intent,’ ‘unknown causes,’ and ‘unintentional poisonings’ were analyzed to estimate the reliability and sensitivity of suicide certification in Poland over three periods covered by ICD-8, ICD-9 and ICD-10, respectively. Time trends were assessed by the Spearman test for trend. RESULTS: The official suicide rate increased by 51.3% in Poland between 1970 and 2009. There was an increasing excess suicide rate for males, culminating in a male-to-female ratio of 7:1. The dominant method, hanging, comprised 90% of all suicides by 2009. Factoring in deaths of undetermined intent only, estimated sensitivity of suicide certification was 77% overall, but lower for females than males. Not increasing linearly with age, the suicide rate peaked at ages 40-54 years. CONCLUSION: The suicide rate is increasing in Poland, which calls for a national prevention initiative. Hangings are the predominant suicide method based on official registration. However, suicide among females appears grossly underestimated given their lower estimated sensitivity of suicide certification, greater use of “soft” suicide methods, and the very high 7:1 male-to-female rate ratio. Changes in the ICD classification system resulted in a temporary suicide data blackout in 1980-1982, and significant modifications of the death categories of senility and unknown causes, after 1997, suggest the need for data quality surveillance.

Concepts: Death, Demography, Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide, Hanging, Suicide methods

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Attempted suicide is the main risk factor for suicide and repeated suicide attempts. However, the evidence for follow-up treatments reducing suicidal behavior in these patients is limited. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of the Attempted Suicide Short Intervention Program (ASSIP) in reducing suicidal behavior. ASSIP is a novel brief therapy based on a patient-centered model of suicidal behavior, with an emphasis on early therapeutic alliance.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide, Parasuicide

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More than three quarters of the world’s suicides occur in developing countries, yet little is known about the drivers of suicidal behavior in poor populations. I study India, where one fifth of global suicides occur and suicide rates have doubled since 1980. Using nationally comprehensive panel data over 47 y, I demonstrate that fluctuations in climate, particularly temperature, significantly influence suicide rates. For temperatures above 20 °C, a 1 °C increase in a single day’s temperature causes ∼70 suicides, on average. This effect occurs only during India’s agricultural growing season, when heat also lowers crop yields. I find no evidence that acclimatization, rising incomes, or other unobserved drivers of adaptation are occurring. I estimate that warming over the last 30 y is responsible for 59,300 suicides in India, accounting for 6.8% of the total upward trend. These results deliver large-scale quantitative evidence linking climate and agricultural income to self-harm in a developing country.

Concepts: Heat, India, Developing country, Major depressive disorder, Suffering, Self-harm, Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide

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Data are scarce on the potential change in suicidal behavior among adolescents and young adults after receiving a cancer diagnosis.

Concepts: Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide, Parasuicide

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The risk of death by suicide in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is largely unknown. Previous studies have been small and methodologically flawed. We analyzed data from the Swedish national registers to estimate the risk of suicide in OCD and identify the risk and protective factors associated with suicidal behavior in this group. We used a matched case-cohort design to estimate the risk of deaths by suicide and attempted suicide in individuals diagnosed with OCD, compared with matched general population controls (1:10). Cox regression models were used to study predictors of suicidal behavior. We identified 36 788 OCD patients in the Swedish National Patient Register between 1969 and 2013. Of these, 545 had died by suicide and 4297 had attempted suicide. In unadjusted models, individuals with OCD had an increased risk of both dying by suicide (odds ratio (OR)=9.83 (95% confidence interval (CI), 8.72-11.08)) and attempting suicide (OR=5.45 (95% CI, 5.24-5.67)), compared with matched controls. After adjusting for psychiatric comorbidities, the risk was reduced but remained substantial for both death by suicide and attempted suicide. Within the OCD cohort, a previous suicide attempt was the strongest predictor of death by suicide. Having a comorbid personality or substance use disorder also increased the risk of suicide. Being a woman, higher parental education and having a comorbid anxiety disorder were protective factors. We conclude that patients with OCD are at a substantial risk of suicide. Importantly, this risk remains substantial after adjusting for psychiatric comorbidities. Suicide risk should be carefully monitored in patients with OCD.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 19 July 2016; doi:10.1038/mp.2016.115.

Concepts: Anxiety, Death, Mental disorder, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Psychiatry, Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide, Parasuicide

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In Europe, men have lower rates of attempted suicide compared to women and at the same time a higher rate of completed suicides, indicating major gender differences in lethality of suicidal behaviour. The aim of this study was to analyse the extent to which these gender differences in lethality can be explained by factors such as choice of more lethal methods or lethality differences within the same suicide method or age. In addition, we explored gender differences in the intentionality of suicide attempts.

Concepts: Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide

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We examined attempted and completed suicides after stroke to determine whether they were associated with socioeconomic status, other patient characteristics, or time after stroke.

Concepts: Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide, Parasuicide

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Despite higher rates of suicide in men, there is a dearth of research examining the perspectives and experiences of males at risk of suicide, particularly in terms of understanding how interventions can be tailored to men’s specific needs. The current study aimed to examine factors assisting, complicating or inhibiting interventions for men at risk, as well as outlining the roles of family, friends and others in male suicide prevention. Thirty-five male suicide survivors completed one-to-one interviews, and forty-seven family and friends of male suicide survivors participated in eight focus groups. Thematic analysis revealed five major themes: (1) development of suicidal behaviours tends to follow a common path associated with specific types of risk factors (disrupted mood, unhelpful stoic beliefs and values, avoidant coping strategies, stressors), (2) men at risk of suicide tend to systematically misinterpret changes in their behaviour and thinking, (3) understanding mood and behavioural changes in men enables identification of opportunities to interrupt suicide progression, (4) distraction, provision of practical and emotional supports, along with professional intervention may effectively interrupt acute risk of harm, and (5) suicidal ideation may be reduced through provision of practical help to manage crises, and helping men to focus on obligations and their role within families. Findings suggest that interventions for men at risk of suicidal behaviours need to be tailored to specific risk indicators, developmental factors, care needs and individuals' preferences. To our knowledge this is the first qualitative study to explore the experiences of both suicidal men and their family/friends after a suicide attempt, with the view to improve understanding of the processes which are effective in interrupting suicide and better inform interventions for men at risk.

Concepts: Psychology, Focus group, Bipolar disorder, Human behavior, Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide, Parasuicide, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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The national cost of suicides and suicide attempts in the United States in 2013 was $58.4 billion based on reported numbers alone. Lost productivity (termed indirect costs) represents most (97.1%) of this cost. Adjustment for under-reporting increased the total cost to $93.5 billion or $298 per capita, 2.1-2.8 times that of previous studies. Previous research suggests that improved continuity of care would likely reduce the number of subsequent suicidal attempts following a previous nonfatal attempt. We estimate a highly favorable benefit-cost ratio of 6 to 1 for investments in additional medical, counseling, and linkage services for such patients.

Concepts: Costs, United States, Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide, Parasuicide