Introduction. Effects of Medical Interventions on Suicidal Behavior

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Background: Knowledge of effective means of preventing suicide, based on research evidence, is strikingly limited, but there are indications that specific treatments may reduce suicidal risk in patients with major affective disorders. Method: An international symposium was held in Miami, Fla., February 26–28, 1998, to discuss current knowledge of the Effects of Medical Interventions on Suicidal Behavior. Participant experts prepared summary reports of their contributions. Results: Participants considered what is known about the effects of medical treatments on suicidal risk, as well as proposed approaches to future research. This supplement summarizes the proceedings of the symposium. Conclusion: The symposium strongly supported the proposition that suicide is amenable to ethical scientific investigation, suggested that evidence supporting suicide risk-reduction can be developed, and strongly encouraged studies to test the effects of specific interventions on suicidal risk. It also encouraged greater efforts at public and professional education to understand suicide as a result of mood and other psychiatric disorders, and to improve their early recognition and enhance timely access to effective treatment by the psychiatric and general medical community.

J Clin Psychiatry 1999;60(suppl 2):4-6