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

Partners:

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

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


Partners

  • 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

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.

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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

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

Partners:

  • 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.

Partners:

Suicide rates in Nordic prisons 1999-2016

International research has shown an increased suicide rate among people in prison.  However, studies have yet to address age structural differences. In this longitudinal the suicide rates among male prisoners is compared to the general population in three Nordic countries, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway,  while adjusting for age differences.

Findings from the study shows that men in prison have a 7-fold higher suicide rate compared to the background population in Denmark, Iceland, and Norway and when accounting for age differences. For females, a rate 18-fold higher suicide rate was found among those in prison when compared to the general population. Over the 17-year study period, the suicide rate of people in prison decreased from 129 per 100,000 in 1999 to 70 per 100,000 in 2016. This decline was steeper that the decline observed for the suicide rate in the general population in the Nordic countries.

Link to study

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13811118.2020.1746943


DRISP: Britt Morthorst, Charlotte Mühlmann, Trine Madsen, Merete Nordentoft
og Annette Erlangsen

Partners

  • Lars Mehlum, Professor, National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, Institute of Clinical Medicine Oslo, Norway
  • Aiguröur Pàlsson, MD, Unit of Forensic Psychiatry, Iceland
  • Högni Óskarsson, md, Humus inc., Iceland Yngve Hammerlin, MD, Correctional Service of Norway Staff Academy, Norway

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


Partners

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

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

Partner:

  • 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


Neurological disorders and suicide

Neurological disorders have severe impacts on people’s lives in terms of both disability and dependency and have been linked to suicide. Yet, a comprehensive overview was lacking. This study examined whether people with specific neurological disorders die by suicide more often than other people. The study was based on the register data covering the entire population of Denmark during 1980-2016.

The findings from study, which was published in JAMA, shows that people with neurological disorders have a 75% higher suicide rate than people with no neurological disorders. Still, suicide deaths are rare events. While the suicide rate for the general population was around 20 per 100,000, the rate for people with neurological disorders is around 40 per 100,000 person-years. One out of 150 persons diagnosed with a neurological disorder dies by suicide. For severe neurological diseases, such as Huntington’s, one out of 61 diagnosed went on to die by suicide. This study is the most comprehensive assessment of neurological disorders’ link to suicide conducted to date.

The study shows that people who have been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Huntington’s disease have a particular high risks, as the suicide rate associated with these disorders is 4-5 times higher than in the general population. People who have been exposed to traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, or epilepsy have a suicide rate, which is double the level of the one found among those with no such disorders.

People with dementia were found to have a 2-3 time higher suicide rate during the first three months after being diagnosed. On the other hand, people who had been diagnosed with dementia more than a year ago were found to have a lower suicide rate than the general population.

– This is the first time we have examined this many different neurological disorders to gain a more detailed understanding of when risk of suicide is pronounced. These insights can help us shape dedicated preventive effort says Dr. Annette Erlangsen, lead author and senior researcher at Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention (DRISP). The project has received support from the Psychiatric Research Foundation, Region of Southern Denmark.

Link to study:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2760389



DRISP: Annette Erlangsen, Merete Nordentoft

Partners:

  • Egon Stenager, Department of Neurology, Sønderborg, Hospital of Southern Jutland, Denmark
  • Yeates Conwell, Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide, University of Rochester Medical Center, USA
  • Per Krag Andersen, Section of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Keith Hawton, Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Michael Eriksen Benros, Research Unit, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Elsebeth Stenager, Department of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

MYPLAN – a self-help tool for management of crisis

People who have had a suicide attempt have a significantly higher risk of repeated suicidal behaviour. MYPLAN was created with the intention of being a self-help tool for management of suicidal crisis. This project consists of 1) a qualitative study of stakeholders on improvements to MYPLAN; 2) a randomized clinical trial to evaluate MYPLAN’s efficacy in reducing suicide intent among persons at risk of suicide, and 3) a person-centered evaluation of the MYPLAN to identify barriers and facilitators to its general implementation. The RCT was initiated in 2019 and is currently ongoing. Following studies have been published :
The project received support from the Danish TRYG Foundation.

Publications

https://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com
https://www.tandfonline.com


DRISP: Charlotte Mühlmann Kate Andreassen Aamund, Jette Louise S. Larsen, Annette Erlangsen

Partners:

  • Hanne Frandsen, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Region H
  • Niels Buus, Mental Health Nursing, Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, Australia

Cause-specific life years lost among persons diagnosed with schizophrenia: Is it getting better or worse?

People with schizophrenia have an increased risk of premature mortality compared to the general population. This study aimed to quantify which types of causes of death contributed to the excess mortality. The findings showed that, compared to the general population, a large improvement in life years lost with respect to suicide and accidents was found in those with schizophrenia. However, this improvement was offset by an increasing number of life years lost in deaths from diseases and medical conditions.
The study has been published in Schizophrenia Research
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0920996418306339#f0005

DRISP: Annette Erlangsen & Merete Nordentoft

Partners:

  • Thomas Munk Laursen, National Center for Register-based Research, Aarhus Denmark (first author on study)
  • Oleguer Plana-Ripoll, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research (iPSYCH), Aarhus, Denmark
  • Per Kragh Andersen, Section of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen
  • John J McGrath, Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland
  • Anita Toender, National Center for Register-based Research, Aarhus Denmark
  • Vladimir Canudas-Romo, School of Demography, Australian


Psycho-social speech therapy in the Danish Suicide Prevetion Clincs

Although deliberate self-harm is a strong predictor of suicide, evidence for effective interventions is missing. The aim of this study was to examine whether psychosocial therapy after self-harm was linked to lower risks of repeated self-harm, suicide, and general mortality.
Our findings show a lower risk of repeated deliberate self-harm and general mortality in recipients of psychosocial therapy after short-term and long-term follow-up, and a protective effect for suicide after long-term follow-up, which favour the use of psychosocial therapy interventions after deliberate self-harm.
The project was supported by Danish Health Insurance Foundation; the Research Council of Psychiatry, Region of Southern Denmark; the Research Council of Psychiatry, Capital Region of Denmark; and the Strategic Research Grant from Health Sciences, Capital Region of Denmark.

The project in the media

Information
TV2
Politiken
Kristeligt Dagblad
Jyllandsposten
DR

Abroad
New York Times
BBC
The Washington Post
Bloomberg News

The study was published in Psychological Medicine and Lancet Psychiatry.

DRISP: Annette Erlangsen & Merete Nordentoft

Partners:

  • Elizabeth A Stuart, Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • Ping Qin, National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • Elsebeth Stenager, Department of Psychiatry, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Region of Southern Denmark, Denmark
  • Leaders of the Danish Suicide Prevention Clinics


Genetics of suicide attempts in individuals with and without mental disorders

Family studies shown an aggregation of suicidal behaviour in families. The aim of this study was to conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and estimate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) heritability for suicide attempt in a national sample of individuals with and without mental disorders. This is the largest sample investigated to date, significant SNP associations to suicide attempt were identified. The findings furthermore indicated that genetic transmission of suicide attempt is not solely explained by diagnosed mental disorders.
The study was published in Molecular Psychiatry.
The project was funded by the iPSYCH-grant from the Danish Lundbeck Foundation

DRISP: Annette Erlangsen & Merete Nordentoft

Partners:

  • Vivek Appadurai, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Yunpeng Wang, PhD, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Gustavo Turecki, MD, PhD, McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Douglas Hospital Research Centre, Department of psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • Ole Mors, PhD, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Thomas Werge, PhD, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Preben B Mortensen, DrMedSc, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Anna Starnawska, PhD, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Anders D Børglum, PhD, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Andrew Schork, MS, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Ron Nudel, DPhil, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Marie Bækvad-Hansen, PhD, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Jonas Bybjerg-Grauholm, MSc, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • David M Hougaard, DrMedSc, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Wesley K Thompson, The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark
  • Esben Agerbo, DrMedSc The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, Denmark