Researchers Find ‘Talk Therapy’ May Reduce Deaths By Suicide

Texas suicide lawyerNearly  everyone has heard about the importance of talking about your problems and not keeping feelings bottled up. A new study in Lancet Psychiatry finds that talking to others – specifically, therapists – can actually save lives. People who have attempted suicide can benefit from “talk therapy,” another name for psychotherapy. Repeat suicide attempts and deaths by suicide were about 25 percent lower among a group of Danish people who underwent voluntary short-term psychosocial counseling after a suicide attempt, according to the study.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined Danish health data from about 65,000 people who attempted suicide between Jan. 1, 1992, and Dec. 31, 2010. They looked at 5,678 people from that group who received sessions of talk therapy at one of Denmark’s eight suicide prevention clinics. Then they compared their outcomes over time with more than 17,000 other people who attempted suicide and who looked similar on other factors but had not gone for treatment afterward. Analyzing the data after a 20-year follow-up, researchers found the people who received talk therapy  were less likely to attempt suicide than people who did not receive the therapy.  Those who received psychotherapy repeated acts of self-harm less frequently and had a lower risk of death by suicide (or any cause) than those in the study who did not receive the therapy.

First-Of-Its-Kind Study Supports Benefits of Psychotherapy in Suicide Prevention

Suicide attorneys understand that it’s no surprise that counseling people with suicidal thoughts will help save lives.  But up until now, there has not been a lot of research to support whether a specific treatment is working. It’s a difficult subject to analyze, according to the study’s authors, because it’s not ethical to conduct a randomized study where some people get suicide prevention therapy while others don’t. In Denmark, the suicide prevention clinics were rolled out slowly and participation in the study was voluntary. Researchers say the large-scale study is the first of its kind to offer evidence that talk therapy can decrease the number of deaths by suicide.

Unfortunately, we know that many licensed mental health professionals in the United States lack proper training to help people who are at risk. They sometimes fail to offer the talk therapy – or other types of treatment – that can save lives. That’s why families whose loved ones died by suicide need the help of experienced attorneys who know what’s required to hold mental health providers accountable.

The new study was detailed in many publications, including a report in Time on Nov. 24, 2014. Quoting researchers, Time stated: “People who present with deliberate self-harm constitute a high-risk group for later suicidal behavior and fatal outcomes, so preventive efforts are important; yet, implemented specialized support after self-harm is rare.”

In  Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health news release about the findings, Annette Erlangsen, DPH, an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Mental Health, stated: “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. 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.”

According to the news release, researchers suggest broadly implementing therapy programs for people who have attempted suicide in the past.

We have no doubt that there’s room for improvement when it comes to helping people who have made attempts at suicide or who have suicidal thoughts. We hope this new study will lead to some meaningful changes.

A suicide attorney at the Law Offices of Skip Simpson can help. Call (214) 618-8222 or visit to schedule a free case consultation.

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