Scientific News and Reading Suggestions #10 from JAMA-Psychiatry

Suicide Rates After Discharge From Psychiatric Facilities A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

Chung DT, Ryan CJ, Hadzi-Pavlovic D, Singh SP, Stanton C, Large MM


  • Most suicides occur in individuals with mental illness.
  • People with mental illness who have been discharged from psychiatric wards seem to have a greater risk for suicide than others (mostly in the first 3 months after discharge).

The article is a synthesis of the existing literature about rates of post-discharge suicide  and is a useful resource for mental health specialists to deepen their understanding of risk factors for the critical, post-discharge period. Nonetheless, the risk of suicide remains high for many years, and a careful approach to patients admitted because of suicidal ideas or behaviors is warranted.

You can find it on JAMA Psychiatry: click HERE

Editorial: Suicide and Attempted Suicide in the United States During the 21st Century.

Caine ED

Letter: Suicide Rates and the Declining Psychiatric Hospital Bed Capacity in the United States.

Robert D. Gibbons, PhDKwan Hur, PhD; J. John Mann, MD

The editorial  deals with suicides and attempted suicides rates which have continued to increase in the United States since the early 2000s. Suicide rates are particularly high among people between 21 and 34 years, with specific characteristics including social problems, psychiatry comorbidities, personality disorders, and substance-related conditions.  

The article stresses the important role of public health approaches to suicide prevention and early identification of people at risk.

A Letter was recently published in Jama Psychiatry dealing with the increase in the national suicide rates and discussing about its possible relation with the number of psychiatric hospital beds, that has decreased in the same period.

You can find the Editorial on JAMA Psychiatry: click HERE

You can find the Letter on JAMA Psychiatry: click HERE

Image from Pixabay

Looking forward to sharing with you
the next scientific news and reading suggestions!

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Echoes of the TV series “13 reasons why” release: an ongoing scientific debate.

13 Reasons Why is an American web television series, based on the 2007 novel by Jay Asher. The story revolves around an high school student and his friend, Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide after suffering a series of demoralizing circumstances brought on by selected individuals at her school. A box of cassettes recorded by the main character details thirteen reasons why she ended her life.

Ayers at al. published on July 31, 2017 a Research Letter on JAMA, describing his study on how internet searches for suicides changed, both in and content, after the series’ release. Using Google Trends the Authors applied a “quasi-experimental approach”, comparing internet search volumes after the premiere of the TV series, with expected search volumes if the series had never been released. In the end, it is unclear whether any internet query preceded an actual self-harm attempt. Results and conclusions of their analyses suggest that 13 Reasons Why, in its present form, may have both increased suicide awareness while unintentionally increasing suicidal ideation.

It is widely acknowledge in the literature that the negative effects of TV shows, such as the one in question, could be avoided following the WHO’s media guidelines for preventing suicide, which suggest to remove explicit scenes and to include suicide hotline numbers in each episode. On July 31, in an Editorial published on JAMA Editorial, Kimberly H. et al. state that, considering the strong audience response to the mentioned TV series, it is probable that others may be encouraged to produce similar shows. Furthermore new patterns of utilization of TV series such as “binge watching” increase the emotional impact and immersion into the story. This makes more urgent the application of preventive screening strategies.

Ungar et al. (2017) argued that international guidance on suicide and media should be strenghtned, implemented and enforced; proposing a “human centered design”, encouraging viewers to seek help for mental health problems supported by their study evidence that the “edutainment” design works for prevention.

On the contrary, Scalvini and Rigamonti published a Letter on the BMJ in October 2017, affirming that fictions such as 13 Reasons why may be a starting point for inspiring dialogue between adolescents and their main role model, parents, educators and therapists, and not delegate educational roles to the media which should not be censored. These Authors suggest that such shows could be used to demand the  government investing more in mental health services for young people.

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Scientific News and Reading Suggestions #9

The new reading suggestions are recent publications on BMJ about media and suicide prevention. The first letter talks about the recent TV series “13 Reasons Why” and discusses the possible impact of media on risk behaviours, while the second one focuses on the “edutainment” role of media.
As you know, the WHO published Guidelines for media professionals, who play an important role in suicide prevention, you can find it in our page “Guidelines”.

Looking forward to sharing with you
the next scientific news and reading suggestions!

To know more, contact EPA- SSSP e-mail address:


Movie of the Month (October 2017)

In October 2017 we choose a movie for you:

“For One More Hour with You”

Directed by: Alina Marazzi

Year: 2002
Running time: 55 min

Plot: For One More Hour with You (“Un’ora sola ti vorrei”) is a documentary entirely focused on the life of the mother of the Director Alina Marazzi, Luisa (Liseli) Marazzi Hoepli, born in 1938 and dead for suicide in 1972, at 33, when Alina was 7. The documentary is Alina’s attempt to collect the pieces of her mother’s life. It is not possible to convey here the emotional patchwork of melodies (the film’s title is the one of an old Italian love song), home movies, and recordings that Alina selected to recreate pictures of her mother. Alina explains, presenting this documentary, that it is a gift to her mother, and to all children and parents.

We choose this movie because it well describes both Liseli’s psychache (borrowing the neologism coined by Shneidman in 1993) and the experience of a suicide survivor. The movie could represent an extraordinary example of how it is possible to survive to such a dramatic personal experience, the suicide of a mother, and to continue the elaboration of this loss with the help of the creative work.

Sources (text and image):

Thanks to Raffaella Calati, MD, PHD  



Scientific News and Reading Suggestions #8

Professor Danuta Wasserman shared:

“The European Psychiatric Association (EPA) guidance on suicide treatment and prevention”
D. Wasserman, Z. Rihmer, D. Rujescu, M. Sarchiapone, M. Sokolowski, D. Titelman, G. Zalsman, Z. Zemishlany, V. Carli

It has been recognized as one of the most cited research articles in the European Psychiatry Journal.

You can find it in the European Psychiatry website, it is available for download until 5th December (click here to see it!).

Looking forward to sharing with you
the next scientific news and reading suggestions!

To know more, contact EPA- SSSP e-mail address:

Thanks to Professor Danuta Wasserman, MD, PhD

Scientific News and Reading Suggestions #7

Our member Judith Balazs shared with us some of her recent publications in the field of suicidology:

Self-injury and externalizing pathology: a systematic literature review
Meszaros G, Horváth LO, Balazs J. (2017) BMC Psychiatry. 2017 3;17(1):160.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and suicide: A systematic review.
Balazs J, Kereszteny A. (2017) World J Psychiatry 22; 7(1): 44-59

Looking forward to sharing with you
the next scientific news and reading suggestions!

To know more, contact EPA- SSSP e-mail address:

Thanks to Judth Balazs, MD, PhD

Scientific News and Reading Suggestion #6

The new reading suggestion is a recent publication on World Psychiatry; the Authors are two members of our Section:

Antidepressants and suicide risk in depression
Courtet, P. and Lopez-Castroman, J. (2017), World Psychiatry, 16: 317–318. doi:10.1002/wps.20460

Our Co-Chair, and also author, says about it:

“The current issue of World Psychiatry presents a letter by two of our section members (Philippe Courtet and Jorge Lopez Castroman). The letter describes the ongoing controversy about emergent suicidal ideation or behavior after the introduction of an antidepressant treatment. Our colleagues make a quick overview of this issue from the Black Box warning to the most recent evidence. They also make several suggestions to improve our knowledge and practice with suicidal patients: 1)the need for RCTs that do not exclude patients because of suicidal risk, 2) an update of usual practices in the use of antidepressants, and 3) the need for research investment in the development of specific treatments targeting suicidality. Here is the link to the paper. Food for thought!”

Looking forward to sharing with you
the next scientific news and reading suggestions!

To know more, contact EPA- SSSP e-mail address:

Thanks to Jorge López Castroman, MD, PhD, co-chair of The EPA-SSSP Section of Suicidology and Suicide Prevention

Movie of the Month (September 2017)

In September 2017 we choose a movie for you:

“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Based on: “Dracula” by Bram Stoker

Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves
Year: 1992
Running time: 122 min
Awards: 3 Academy Awards won (best costume design, best sound editing, best makeup)

Plot:  in 1462 Vlad Dracula returns from a victory against the Turks and finds that his wife, Elisabeta, has committed suicide after receiving a false report of his death. Enraged that his wife is now damned for committing suicide, Dracula desecrates his chapel and renounces God, declaring that he will rise from the grave to avenge Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness. In a fit of rage, he stabs the chapel’s stone cross with his sword and drinks the blood that pours out of it.

The movie further develop in 1897 and the entire plot focuses on an intense love story that trascends time, life and death, whose main character is a suicide loss survivor
(to read more about suicide loss survivors, click here).


Scientific News and Reading Suggestions #4

Professor Vsevolod Rozanov informed us about his book recently published by Elsevier:

“Stress and Epigenetics in Suicide”

“In this book an attempt is made to build a model of suicidal behavior which is based on the concept of stress-vulnerability with implication of modern understanding of the role of epigenetics as a mechanism of programming certain behavioral and emotional patterns, which may influence suicide or suicide attempt.

I am trying here to put together different types of interactions between genes and environments (mostly social, discussing psycho-social and perceived stress as main disturbing factor), starting from typical genes-to -environment interactions, behavioral genes-to- environment covariations, to mechanisms of early life stress programming based on epigenetics and social genomics reactions which evoke conserved patterns of reactivity.
As a result a bio-behavioral model of suicidal behavior is proposed, which takes into consideration possible transgenerational transmission of programmed stress-reactivity and some other features, which in turn may serve as a background for self-destruction.
This model seems to be relevant for understanding recent growth of suicidal behavior in youth and adolescents. In the frame of this thinking cultural conflict, values that are promoted by global economic model, hedonism, individualism, rude materialism and many other psychological and existential aspects of modernity are thought to be responsible for the high level of perceived stress in youth, making certain part of them particularly vulnerable.
The perspective of prevention is seen in such domains as stress-inoculation from one side and self-actualization, meaning in life and intrinsic values promotion in youth from the other side. These wider strategies are given more attention, with reflections on possible biological effects”.

For more details:

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Thanks to Professor Vsevolod Rozanov, MD, PhD

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