Scientific News and Reading Suggestions #23

Our member Erminia Colucci suggests her latest publication about suicide:

Suicide first aid guidelines for assisting persons from
immigrant or refugee background:
a Delphi study

Here her comment about it:

This article is part of a series of projects by the authors aimed to develop a community-based tool to help members of the public to recognise potential warning signs for suicide and practical advice about how to respond (and what not to do) if someone close to them was considering taking their own life. The guidelines  specific for assisting persons from immigrant or refugee background were developed using an expert-consensus method (Delphi) with panel of professional and/or lived-experience experts. The article provides a list of the items included as well as links to the free resources developed from this project, i.e. the complete printable Suicide First Aid guidelines and the shorter infographic (available also on ). Members of this mailing list are invited to distribute the article as well as the free resources to anyone who is likely to encounter people from immigrant or refugee background at risk for suicide. The authors are now looking for opportunities to also develop training based on these guidelines (train the trainer style) and members are encourage to contact the first author Dr Erminia Colucci ( if interested”.

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Thanks to Erminia Colucci

Movie of the Month (September 2018)

In September 2018 we chose a movie for you:

The Big Chill

Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan
Starring: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum
Year: 1983
Running time: 105 minutes

PlotThe story is about Cooper family who receive the news of their friend Alex’s suicide. At the funeral the Coopers, meet with college friends and then they all go to Coopers’ vacation house, where they stay for the weekend sharing they stories.

The movie was suggested by our member Patrizia Zeppegno who said:

It is a beautiful movie in which the group and the individual have to face the grief for a friend. This tragic event elicits different feelings in each one: sadness, regret, psychological pain, guilt, rage. The relationships among group members may also represent different feelings of the single survivor. As my master Eugenio Torre teaches “bereavement is a ‘crisis’ that may offer the chance to think about the past and go on throughout the future”.


Thanks to Patrizia Zeppegno

Scientific News and Reading Suggestions #22

Some jobs are highly related to occupation-associated suicide; in particular, physicians have a suicide rate which is twice that of the general population. Recently, on Jama Psychiatry, it has been published the article “A Physician’s Suffering – Facing Depression as a Trainee”, which focuses on the impact that a physician suicide may have on colleagues. It describes the experience of a physician who was in training when he learnt about a colleague’s suicide, his feelings and the problems he experienced during the training period, that lead him to think about suicide himself. After a period when he was afraid to ask for help because of the stigmatization of psychiatric problems, he then decided to disclose his condition to his primary care physicians and eventually to a psychiatrist and a therapist who helped him overcome his crisis, accomplish his projects, becoming a doctor and helping his patients.

LINK: A Physician’s Suffering – Facing Depression as a Trainee

Farrell CM. A Physician’s Suffering—Facing Depression as a Trainee. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(6):749–750. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.1520

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Scientific News and Reading Suggestions #21

On 31st July 2018 Health Europa Quarterly invited us to write a short article on the emergency department as a site for suicide risk management and prevention. Health Europa website provides minute news and developments from across the entire spectrum of European Health Policy. Our Chair, Marco Sarchiapone, together with our Secretary Carla Gramaglia, Patrizia Zeppegno and the Website Staff wrote a short summary about the critical key role of the emergency department (ED) in the evaluation and management of suicidal behaviors. Here you can find the article: “Suicide prevention: the role of the emergency department”.

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Today is the #WorldSuicidePreventionDay!

Every year, on September 10th, the #WorldSuicidePreventionDay gives the opportunity to talk about suicide and suicide prevention all over the world through different events.

The WSPD 2018 slogan is: “Working together to prevent suicide”.

We would be grateful if you could inform us about any initiative organized in your country about suicide prevention.

Thank you for your help!

Suicide Hotspot: “A Long Way Down”

A Hornby’s novel, published in 2005. 

On the night of the 31th December four people, apparently with nothing in common, find themselves involved in a strange and unusual adventure. They met for the first time on the top of “The House of Suicide”, a skyscraper in London, where they went up with the intention of committing suicide. The protagonists are: Maureen, a lonely woman taking care of a seriously disabled son named Matt; Martin, a journalist who spent a period in jail after having a sexual intercourse with a 15 years old girl, and, after this fact, lost his family, friends and job; Jess, a problematic adolescent girl, with a tragic history in her past and JJ, an American pizza-boy, who was a musician in his country, but his band dissolved and he broke up with his girlfriend. All these people have different tragic past  stories and live in difficult conditions, but, when they start talking on the roof of the skyscraper and sharing their problems, they decide not to commit suicide in that moment. They start a strange friendship, and, in an unusual way, they help each other, talking with honesty, frankness and true empathy. They start to meet periodically, and everytime they postpone the decision about suicide, sharing and comparing their life problems. On the 14th February they decide to go up on the skyscraper “House of suicide”, where they find a man. They try to talk to him, but he commits suicide in front of their eyes. After that, they understand they don’t really want to end their life, and, likewise, they need to stay together, and through their particular friendship, they start to look in a different way to their life and start giving themselves a chance. They go on with a new point of view: although life is not always beautiful and easy, they try to face it step by step, and continue postponing the decision of suicide, never saying “I’ll never do that”, but just waiting for taking this decision, and, in this way, they continue with their life and friendship.

To know more about suicide hotspot visit our post about it!

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Movie of the Month (June 2018)

In June 2018 we chose a movie for you:

Girl on the Brige

Directed by: Patrice Leconte
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Vanessa Paradis
Year: 2000
Running time: 90 minutes

Plot: the movie is about Gabor and a girl named Adèle, who intends to kill herself by jumping from a bridge in Paris. Gabor intervenes to prevent her to suicide, taking interests in her. Subsequently, the movie describes their relationship during a trip around Europe: staying and working together will help both of them to develop personal resources; unexpectedly at the end, roles are inverted, and Adele will try to help Gabor in a very difficult moment.



Suicide Hotspot

The hotspot is also known as “iconic site” or “suicide magnet”. It is “A specific, usually public, site which is frequently used as a location for suicide and which provides either means or opportunity for suicide”. It is almost always a jumping site; examples are the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, and Niagara Falls” (National Institute for Mental Health In England, 2006). They also receive a disproportionate amount of media attention.

The “Guidance on action to be taken at suicide hotspots” (2006), developed by the National Institute for Mental Health in England, on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center Website, qualifies the suicide hotspot as follow:

“The term ‘suicide hotspot’ has two possible meanings. It is frequently used to refer to both: a) a geographical area with a relatively high rate of suicide among its resident population (e.g. a town, borough, county or country), and b) a specific, usually public, site which is frequently used as a location for suicide and which provides either means or opportunity for suicide (e.g. a particular bridge from which individuals frequently jump to their deaths)”.

The Guidance reports examples of prevention methods that may be applied to hotspots with proven efficacy: physical barriers, telephone hotlines also encouraged by placing telephones nearby the hotspot, increasing the possibility of intervention by a third party, suicide patrols or trained staff of non-health agencies working at or near hotspots, finally,  paying attention to media reporting (e.g. media guideline).

In 2013 BMC Public Health published a systematic review about suicide hotspots that highlighted quite the same methods to prevent suicide in these areas as those indicated in the Guidance (1). In the same year a meta analysis about the effectiveness of structural interventions at suicide hotspots concluded that structural interventions at ‘hotspots’ avert suicides in these sites: “Some increases in suicide are evident at neighbouring sites, but there is an overall gain in terms of a reduction in all suicides by jumping” (2).

Developing suicide prevention strategies in these places requires complex questions of ownership, responsibility and resources.

On the Center for suicide prevention website there is an interesting editorial about the topic: “Jumping and Suicide Prevention”. It talks about suicide by jumping from heights and arguments for and against barriers.

It is known that barriers and other prevention methods may not stop an individual that wants to commit suicide, but multiple efforts should be performed to prevent the event, because, as reported in the editorial:

“A barrier or another prevention measure should not be up for debate. If suicides have occurred previously in the location… it is worth the expense.
Even one suicide is too many”.

  1. Interventions to reduce suicides at suicide hotspots: a systematic review
  2. The effectiveness of structural interventions at suicide hotspots: a meta-analysis.
  3. “Jumping” and Suicide Prevention

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Scientific News and Reading Suggestions #20

Suicide is a global public health concern: human activities and rapid urbanisation influence the environments in which people live, and this may impact on health, including mental health. In particular, a recent article published on The Lancet Planetary Health by M.Helbich and colleagues, focuses on the association between natural environments and population suicide risk. Authors studied how green or blue spaces may influence suicide rate in association with many socio-economic factors and provide references on previous studies about how  suicide-methods access may contribute to suicidal behaviors.

LINK: Natural environments and suicide

Moreover, “suicide hotspots” should be considered among the environmental factors that may influence suicide rate in a specific context. Several articles have been published about this topic in different countries: on PloS One, in 2017, it was published a Swiss study that compares different suicide prevention measures in jumping hotspots; an Austrian study (2017) focuses on railway suicide, studying clustering phenomena, and particular events occuring in proximity to psychiatric institutions in order to help further prevention strategies.  

LINK: Comparing Different Suicide Prevention Measures at Bridges and Buildings: Lessons We Have Learned from a National Survey in Switzerland

LINK: Suicides on the Austrian railway network: hotspot analysis and effect of proximity to psychiatric institutions.

If you want to know more about suicide hotspots you can visit our post about it! 

Natural environments and suicide. Chang, Shu-Sen et al.
The Lancet Planetary Health , Volume 2 , Issue 3 , e109 – e110

Hemmer A, Meier P, Reisch T (2017) Comparing Different Suicide Prevention Measures at Bridges and Buildings: Lessons We Have Learned from a National Survey in Switzerland.
PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169625. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0169625

Strauss MJ, Klimek P, Sonneck G, Niederkrotenthaler T. Suicides on the Austrian railway network: hotspot analysis and effect of proximity to psychiatric institutions. Royal Society Open Science. 2017;4(3):160711. doi:10.1098/rsos.160711.

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