Psychosocial counseling found effective for preventing suicide attempts

Apart from the fact that medical science believes that individuals who always attempt suicide are suffering from depression or schizophrenia, it is difficult to analyze why some people would persist at attempts to take their own lives. Statistics in the US provides that while suicide is one of the 10 major causes of death, about one million people commit suicide in the US every year.

And given the fact that underlying causes for suicides are unknown, medical experts treat depressions and schizophrenia with medications in individuals with a high propensity for suicide – and this class of persons still ends up taking their own lives after some time.

But a team of researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted a study that indicates that psychosocial counseling significantly reduces the rates of suicide attempts in high-risk individuals. High risk individuals here mean individuals that have made several attempts in the past to take their own lives.

According to Annette Erlangsen of the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins, “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. Our findings provide a solid basis for recommending that this type of therapy be considered for populations at risk for suicide.” While medications have always been prescribed to depressed and schizophrenics to address their mental disorders which are basis for suicidal thoughts, Erlangsen admits that “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.”

To better prove that short-term psychosocial counseling works to reduce the rates of suicides among high risk persons, the researchers analyzed the tendencies of 5,678 people with high suicide tendencies over a 20-year period after they had undergone 6-10 session counseling and found that there was 27% lesser attempts to repeat suicides, and they had a 38% chance of not dying from any preventable deaths than those that did not attend any counseling sessions. This translated to 229 suicide rates per 100,000 people that attended the therapy session, and 314 per 100,000 for those who did not attend.

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