Around 60 percent of people who contemplate or attempt suicide do not receive treatment

May 2, 2014

In a Review, published to coincide with the launch of The Lancet Psychiatry journal, Professor Rory O'Connor from the University of Glasgow and Professor Matthew K. Nock from Harvard University review the key psychological factors that may contribute to, or protect against, suicidal behaviour including personality differences, cognitive factors, and negative life events such as serious physical illness, as well as current psychological treatments. Evidence suggests that about 60% of people struggling with suicidal thoughts or behaviour do not receive any help, and, surprisingly, there is relatively little evidence for the effectiveness of treatments received by those who do. The authors conclude by calling for more research into novel psychological and psychosocial treatments.

According to Professor O'Connor, "Although a range of risk factors that contribute to have been identified, it is not clear how or why these factors work together to increase the risk of suicidal behaviour and there is little known about what protects against suicide among those who are vulnerable. Further studies are urgently needed to develop psychological treatments for those at risk of suicide alongside efforts to eliminate barriers that lead to underuse of mental health resources."

Professor Nock adds, "As a field, we have made significant advances in our understanding of suicidal behaviour in recent years. We now have a strong foundation of knowledge about suicidal behaviour on which to build, as well as some exciting new findings about psychological factors that seem to put people at risk for thinking about suicide, and other factors that increase their likelihood of acting on suicidal thoughts. It is vitally important that we as a society invest heavily in making further advances so that we can start to decrease the suffering and loss of life due to suicidal behaviour."

Explore further: CAMH study confirms genetic link to suicidal behavior

Related Stories

CAMH study confirms genetic link to suicidal behavior

October 7, 2011
A new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has found evidence that a specific gene is linked to suicidal behaviour, adding to our knowledge of the many complex causes of suicide. This research may help doctors ...

Research finds bullies and victims three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts by age 11

February 29, 2012
as both a victim and a bully – are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts by the time they reach 11 years old, according to research from the University of Warwick.

Teenagers and young adults diagnosed with cancer are at increased risk of suicide

October 29, 2013
Teenagers and young adults are at increased risk of suicide after being diagnosed with cancer according to a study published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology [1] today.

Many U.S. teens at risk for suicide despite treatment

January 9, 2013
(HealthDay)—A new study casts doubt on the value of current professional treatments for teens who struggle with mental disorders and thoughts of suicide.

Catastrophic thoughts about the future linked to suicidal patients

April 28, 2014
Suicide has been on the increase recently in the United States, currently accounting for almost 40,000 deaths a year. A new study shows that one successful effort to avoid suicide attempts would be to focus on correcting ...

Recommended for you

Depression changes structure of the brain, study suggests

July 21, 2017
Changes in the brain's structure that could be the result of depression have been identified in a major scanning study.

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

July 21, 2017
A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

Study finds gene variant increases risk for depression

July 20, 2017
A University of Central Florida study has found that a gene variant, thought to be carried by nearly 25 percent of the population, increases the odds of developing depression.

In making decisions, are you an ant or a grasshopper?

July 20, 2017
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing, ...

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

July 20, 2017
Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

IggyDalrymple
not rated yet May 03, 2014
'cause treatment is a cruel joke. My relative felt suicidal, and checked into a recommended clinic. It was just like the "Snakepit" movie 60 years ago. She was tossed into a ward full of sick people who were rewarded with cigarettes to behave. Next time, she'll likely choose the other alternative.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.