Losing a loved one to suicide can be a traumatic and stressful experience, and studies show that bereaved by suicide themselves have an increased risk of stress-related illnesses and suicidal behavior. To determine the burden related to being bereaved, Annette Erlangsen at DRISP is involved in an international research project with researchers from University College London.
The study examined register data on 32,248 individuals living in Denmark who died by suicide in Denmark between 1980 and 2016, as well as identifying their relatives in the form of parents, children, siblings, and partners.
Having lost a loved one to suicide was associated with a 2.8 times higher risk of suicide compared to people who had not lost a loved one. The study also showed that 0.69% of all suicides in Denmark could be prevented if all factors that increase the risk of suicide among relatives of people who have died by suicide could be addressed. This corresponds to 60% of suicides among bereaved by suicide.
Bereaved by suicide have an increased risk of developing suicidal behavior themselves, and, although these suicides only account for a relatively small proportion of the total number of suicides, it is important to provide support to this group.
The project has received funding from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. You can find the study here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acps.13493
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
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
New York Times
The Washington Post
The study was published in Psychological Medicine and Lancet Psychiatry.
DRISP: Annette Erlangsen & Merete Nordentoft
- 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
Workplace bullying can be considered a stressful event, but there is little knowledge about its association with suicidal behavior. The aim of this research project was to investigate whether people who had experienced workplace bullying had a higher risk of suicidal behavior than people who had not been exposed to it.
In several large Danish surveys, more than 98,000 employees had been asked about experiences of workplace bullying. These data were linked to registry data, so that researchers could examine how many of the respondents were recorded with suicidal behavior over the subsequent 10 years from 2004-2014. The findings showed that over 10% of the people who had reported experienced workplace bullying. People who had been exposed to workplace bullying had a 1.6 times higher risk of suicidal behavior when compared to those who had not experienced bullying. The study was one of the few, which have documented this association in data where it could be determined that the bullying had been reported prior to the observed suicidal behavior.
The project has received funding from the Psychiatric Research Foundation, Region of Southern Denmark.
You can find the study here: https://www.sjweh.fi/article/4034
DRISP: Annette Erlangsen
- Paul Maurice Conway, Institut for Psykologi, Københavns Universitet
- Thomas Clausen, Det Nationale Forskningscenter for Arbejdsmiljø, København
- Annie Høgh, Institut for Psykologi, Københavns Universitet
- Elsebeth Stenager, Department of Regional Health Research, University of Southern