Psychosocial Approaches to Suicide Prevention: Applications to Patients With Bipolar Disorder




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Hopelessness, dysfunctional attitudes, and poor problem-solving abilities are psychosocial risk factors that have been identified as predictors of suicide. These psychosocial risk factors may help clinicians apply specific therapies and treatments to patients with bipolar disorder at risk for suicide. A search of the literature on suicide prevention revealed 17 randomized, controlled studies, which the authors reviewed to determine the efficacy of strategies aimed at eliminating psychosocial risk factors for suicide. Three strategies emerged as efficacious: (1) applying interventions to elicit emergency care by patients at times of distress; (2) training in problem-solving strategies; and (3) combining comprehensive interventions that include problem solving with intensive rehearsal of cognitive, social, emotional-labeling, and distress-tolerance skills. On the basis of their review of the literature, the authors make recommendations for suicide prevention for patients with bipolar disorder.

J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(suppl 25):56-64