Counseling reduces risk of repeat suicide attempts
Short-term counseling may significantly reduce the number of repeat suicide attempts, according to researchers at the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins University.
Suicide remains one of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States with over 1 million Americans attempting to take their life every year. And people who have already attempted suicide are at a higher risk of trying to kill themselves.
Because people who have attempted suicide are high-risk, researchers wanted to determine the most effective counseling method. They focused on a program in Denmark, where suicide prevention clinics have been offering psychosocial counseling since 1992. The team analyzed health data of more than 65,000 people who had attempted suicide between 1992 and 2010. They then analyzed the outcomes of 5,678 people who had undergone counseling (attending six to 10 sessions) at one of the prevention clinics and compared them to the outcomes of people who did not receive counseling.
Researchers found that in the first year after counseling stopped, people who underwent therapy at the clinics were 27 percent less likely to repeat suicide attempts and were at a 38 percent lower risk of death from all causes than those who did not receive any counseling. After five years, suicide attempts were 26 percent lower among people who underwent therapy and after 10 years, the suicide rate was 229 per 100,000 among people who underwent therapy while the rate was 314 per 100,000 for those who did not receive the therapy.
The findings provide evidence of the importance of support treatment, although more research is needed to determine how to best tailor counseling sessions for each individual.