DRISP-seminar: Psychosocial and digital suicide prevention

Date: February 14th, 2020
Time: 9.30-12.15
Stream of DRISP seminar:


(introduktion begynder efter 8 minutter)


Welcome by Prof. Merete Nordentoft, Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention

Digital phenotyping and suicide prevention by Prof. Heleen Riper, Section of Clinical Psychology, Vrije University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Psychosocial interventions for suicide prevention by Prof. Ad Kerkhof, Vrije University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Digital interventions for youth with suicidal ideation or self-harm by Prof. Sarah Hetrick, Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand

People with sleep disorders and rates of suicide

People who have a history of sleep disorders and bad quality of sleep often tend to have an elevated risk of psychiatric challenges in conjunction with the sleep disorders, which might lead to suicidal ideation or behaviour. So far, the evidence base has been limited to smaller studies, and the current study will be one of few population-based cohort studies examining the association between sleep disorders and suicide. The study is based on Danish register data.

The study is supported by a research trainee grant from the Lundbeck Foundation.

DRISP: Nikolaj Kjær Høier, Trine Madsen, Merete Nordentoft, Annette Erlangsen


  • Adam Spira, PhD, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of PublicHealth, Baltimore, USA.
  • Prof Keith Hawton, Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford

Treatment of bipolar disorder and risk of suicide

Bipolar disorder is linked to an increased risk of suicide and is treated with a range of different drugs. Lithium has been suggested to be superior to other drugs in preventing suicide by a number of RCTs. The study population in these studies has, however, been restricted and findings might not be representative of all persons with bipolar disorder. Therefore, naturalistic studies with larger sample sizes are needed. This study will use Danish National registers to compare treatment effects of lithium to that of other moodstabilisers and antipsychotics.

The study is supported by the Lundbeck Foundation.

DRISP: Cecilie Aalling, Merete Nordentoft, Annette Erlangsen


  • Prof Keith Hawton, Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford
  • Michael Eriksen Benros, Psykiatrisk Center København

PhD defense in DRISP

On February 14, 2020, Charlotte Mühlmann successfully defended her PhD on “Internet-based self-help therapy for individuals with suicidal ideation.” Opponents were: prof. Sarah Hetrick, Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand and prof. Heleen Riper, Section of Clinical Psychology, Vrije University Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Well done, Charlotte!

Science: Suicide—turning the tide

As one of the few countries in the world, Denmark has secured a radical decline in the suicide rate over the last 40 years. Historically, the Danish suicide rate was among the highest in the world but the rate began declining in 1980 where 38 suicide deaths per 100,000 inhabitants were counted until 2007 where it had reached a level of 11 suicide deaths per 100,000; a reduction to one third of its originally level. The recipe for this success story is listed in SCIENCE.

In the same issue, a series of articles lay out recent and on-going achievements in suicide prevention.



WHO National Suicide prevention strategies

WHO has published a new report on “National suicide prevention strategies: progress, examples and indicators”

National suicide prevention strategies are essential for elevating suicide prevention on the political agenda. A national strategy and associated action plan are necessary to push forward the implementation of suicide prevention. Without these, efforts are likely to abate and suicide prevention will remain neglected. This document aims to serve as a resource and inspire governments and policy-makers to establish their own national suicide prevention strategy. Examples from each WHO Region show the variety of approaches undertaken and the indicators that have been chosen. The elements for developing, implementing and evaluating a national suicide prevention strategy are described and actions to overcome common barriers are presented.

Netflix series ’13 Reasons why’

A new American study has found that the suicide rate among American boys aged 10-17 years increased with 29% in the months after the release of the Netflix series ’13 Reasons why’ i 2017 in the US. International research findings have previously shown that news reports and movies where suicidal behavior is presented might inspire others, particularly vulnerable youngsters. WHO has published guidelines for media reports of suicidal behavior (https://www.who.int/mental_health/suicide-prevention/resource_booklet_2017/en/).

Britt Morthorst fro DRISP commented upon the American findings for DR News.


DRISP student receive prize

Every year an undergraduate in medical science receives Psykiatriprisen (The Psychiatry Price), which is awarded for research in the psychiatric field. This year, Cecilie Aalling, a research year student i DRISP, participated with her paper on ‘Suicidal behaviour among persons with ADHD: A nationwide register-based study’. In the paper Cecilie compared persons with an ADHD diagnosis to the remaining population from 1995-2014 in order to find out whether this group had higher suicide rates. Furthermore, she calculated suicide rates for subgroups according to parents’ psychiatric diagnose, criminal conduct and psychiatric comorbidity. Cecilie received 3. place for this paper and she is very happy and proud.

Cause-specific life years lost among persons with mental disorders

The aim was to quantify the life years lost with respect to cause of death and differences over time between people with and without mental disorders.
This study noted a difference of 10.2 and 7.3 excess life years lost for males and females with mental disorders, respectively. While the overall excess in life years lost between those with and without mental disorders did not change during 1995-2014 However, the excess suicide mortality among persons with mental disorders declined over this period .

The study is published in Lancet Psychiatry.

DRISP: Annette Erlangsen, Merete Nordentoft


  • Per Kragh Andersen, PhD, DMSc, Section of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Thomas Munk Laursen, PhD, Centre for Integrated Register-based Research (CIRRAU), Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Anita Toender, Centre for Integrated Register-based Research (CIRRAU), Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Vladimir Canudas Romo, PhD, Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Heart diseases and suicide

Approximately, 11% of Europeans suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Although somatic disorders are linked to suicidal behavior, updated studies on heart diseases and suicide are needed. This study examines whether individuals diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases have higher suicide rates than individuals without cardiovascular diseases. Danish register data for
the period 1980-2016 was used for the analyses.
Several specific disorders, such as heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and acute myocardial infarction were found to be associated with elevated rates of suicide. Particularly, cardiac arrest with successful resuscitation was linked to a 4-fold higher suicide rate. Additionally, the
first time after diagnosis was associated with higher suicide rates. The results underscore the importance of being attentive towards psychological distress in individuals with heart disease.

Link to study:



  • Benjamin Drejer Petersen, University of Southern Denmark
  • Elsebeth Stenager, University of Southern Denmark

Autism spectrum disorders and suicidal behaviour

Approximately 1% of the population suffer from autism spectrum disorders, which often have their onset during childhood and affect the socialisation of the child. Not much is know about the predictors for suicidal behaviour in this group. The aim of this study is to identify social and disease-related predictors of suicidal behaviour among people with autism.

The project has received support from the Danish Health Foundation.

DRISP: Annette Erlangsen, Cecilie Aaling, Merete Nordentoft


  • Kairi Kõlves, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
  • Stephen James Wood, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Risk for suicide attempt in the offspring of parents with suicide attempt.

In this study we use data from Danish, nationwide registers to investigate risk of suicide attempt in individuals whose parents have attempted suicide. Results show that parental suicide attempt is associated with a 3-fold increased risk of suicide attempt in the offspring. Risks are highest if the parent attempted suicide during early childhood of the offspring. Risks were slightly higher for children of mothers than fathers with suicide attempt. Suicide attempt in a stepparent was associated with a 1,7 fold risk of suicide attempt in the stepchild. Analyses are adjusted for important socioeconomic confounders.

DRISP: Anne RanningAnnette ErlangsenTrine Madsen, Merete Nordentoft


  • Center for Register-based Research

iCare: Psychoeducation for parents of children

Approximately, 11,000 self-harm episodes occur on a yearly basis in Denmark. Of these, the majority are among youth below the age of 25 years. The Suicide Prevention Clinics experience that parents often request information on how they can best help their child after a self-harm episode. The aim of this project is to 1) in collaboration with parents to develop a webpage for this group, 2) to test whether the webpage can help reduce the stress burden that parents experience in a randomised trial, 3) to examine whether parents of children who self-harm have a higher rate of stress-related response when compared to parents not exposed. The project has received 3.7 DKR from the Danish TRYG Foundation

DRISP: Jette Louise Skovgaard Larsen, Anette Juel Kynde, Britt Morthorst, Annette Erlangsen


  • Elene Fleischer, PhD Netværk for selvmordsramte (www.nefos.dk)
  • Niels Buus, Mental Health Nursing, Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney
  • Jan-Henrik Winsløw, Enhed for Selvmordsforebyggelse, Region Nordjylland
  • Prof Keith Hawton, Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford