How can we prevent suicide?

How can we prevent suicide?

A major multi-national study of suicides has identified the behaviour patterns which precede many suicide attempts. 

The researchers evaluated 2811 patients suffering from depression, of whom 628 had already attempted suicide. 

We found that "depressive mixed states" often preceded suicide attempts. A depressive mixed state is where a patient is depressed, but also has symptoms of "excitation", or mania.

We found this significantly more in patients who had previously attempted suicide, than those who had not. In fact 40% of all the depressed patients who attempted suicide had a "mixed episode" rather than just depression. All the patients who suffer from mixed depression are at much higher risk of suicide.

In a second analysis of the figures, they found that if a depressed patient presents any of the following symptoms:
  • risky behaviour (e.g. reckless driving, promiscuous behaviour)
  • psychomotor agitation (pacing around a room, wringing one's hands, pulling off clothing and putting it back on and other similar actions)
  • impulsivity (acting on a whim, displaying behaviour characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences),
then their risk of attempting suicide is at least 50% higher.

Results were announced in European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) conference.