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

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 (
  • 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

App for people with self-harm – MYPLAN Zero Self-Harm

Some people intentionally harm themselves to relieve mental pain. It may be difficult to stop this behavior once it has been initiated. There are, unfortunately, few treatment options for people with self-harm. One recommended approach is to develop strategies in the form of a safety plan, which can be activated if the urge for self-harm arises.

The Zero Self-Harm app was developed as an extension of the MYPLAN app. People with lived experiences, in the form of current and past self-harm, were included in the development process through focus group interviews. The app helps the user to identify warning signs and to develop strategies to cope with future crises.

Zero Self-Harm is currently being tested in a research project, which consists of: 1) a randomized study to investigate whether the Zero Self-Harm app may reduce self-harming behavior, and 2) a qualitative evaluation of barriers and facilitators for using the app. The RCT is expected to be initiated in the autumn of 2020 and to be completed in 2023.

The project is supported by the TRYG Foundation.


Drisp: Lene Qvist Larsen, Annette Erlangsen, Jette Louise Skovgaard Larsen; Kate Andreasson Aamund, Merete Nordentoft

Suicide risk associated with psychiatric hospitalization

To examine the trend and excess risk of suicide in suicidal high-risk phases, namely among psychiatric inpatients and recently discharged patients. We will examine the risk in these high-risk phases according to sex, age-groups and psychiatric diagnoses.

DRISP: Trine Madsen, Merete Nordentoft & Annette Erlangsen

Self-help Online against Suicidal Thoughts

In the Self-help Online against Suicide thoughts (SOS-project) we investigated the effectiveness of a semi-guided Internet-based self-help program, which aimed to reduce suicidal thoughts.
A total of 402 people with suicide thoughts were recruited over a two-year period and the results will be published in 2020. The project is funded by TrygFonden and carried out in collaboration with the Danish Lifeline.

DRISP: Charlotte Mühlmann, Trine Madsen, Annette Erlangsen, Merete Nordentoft


  • Livslinien

Suicide risk according to highest level of psychiatric service received

Different patient groups are seen across psychiatric sectors and it is relevant to know which groups are at imminent risk of suicide. In this project, the risk of suicide is examined according to the highest level of psychiatric service received. The level will be graded according to severity as well as by type of contact, such as psychiatric admission, psychiatric ER visit, psychiatric outpatient, psychiatric medicine.

DRISP: Trine Madsen, Merete Nordentoft, Annette Erlangsen

Lyme disease and risk of suicidal behaviour suicidal adfærd

We will examine the risk of suicidal behavior associated with Lyme disease. We will look into how this risk is according to age of infection with Lyme, number of infections, days hospitalized due to Lyme disease and time since Lyme disease.

DRISP: Trine Madsen, Merete Nordentoft & Annette Erlangsen


  • Michael Eriksen Benros, Research Unit, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen
  • Brian A. Fallon, MD, Center for Neuroinflammatory Disorders and Biobehavioral Medicine and director of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center at Columbia University, USA

Combat exposure and risk of suicide attempt in previously deployed soldiers

In this study we have information on 13.000 deployed soldiers who reported on combat exposure after home-coming in a survey and this is linked to register-based data on self-harm/suicidal attempt.


Relative affected by suicidal behaviour in Denmark

International research has demonstrate that a substantially share of the population have experienced to lose a next of kin to suicide. This study examines how many Danes have been affected by a suicide attempt. The aim of this on-going study is the assess how large a share of the Danish population have been affected by suicidal behaviour. The project has received support from the Partnership for Suicide Prevention, Danish Health Authority.

DRISP: Trine Madsen, Anne Ranning, Annette Erlangsen


  • Karine Hvidkjaer, medicinstuderende ved Københavns Universitet
  • Elene Fleischer, PhD Netværk for selvmordsramte (
  • Jens Peter Eckardt,chefanalytiker, Bedre Psykiatri

Call volume to a national suicide hotline, the Lifeline

It is estimated that between 50-60% of callers to suicide hotlines might be in an acute crisis and as many as 56% have reported to have had a previous suicide attempt. It is, thus, important to answer these calls. In Denmark, the Lifeline answers >14,000 calls on a yearly basis but many calls remain unanswered. The aim of this research project is to examine how many calls to the Lifeline are answered as well as to determine peak call hours during the day.

The project has received support from the Partnership for Suicide Prevention, Danish Health Authority

DRISP: Annette Erlangsen


  • Livslinien

Bereaved by suicide: psychological mechanism

To lose a next of kin to suicide can be an extremely distressing event. Studies show that bereaved by suicide have an elevated risk of stress-related diseases and suicidal behaviour themselves. The aim of this study is to examine the psychological mechanisms that affect the risk of suicidal behaviour among bereaved by suicide. These insights are needed in order to optimise the support for bereaved by suicide.
The project has received support from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

DRISP: Annette Erlangsen


  • Dr Alexandra Pitman, Senior Clinical Lecturer, UCL Division of Psychiatry (projektansvarlig)
  • Dr Gemma Lewis, Research Associate in Psychiatric Epidemiology, UCL Division of Psychiatry
  • Professor Julie Cerel, Professor, College of Social Work, University of Kentucky