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Introduction. Effects of Medical Interventions on Suicidal Behavior

Kay R. Jamison, PhD, and Ross J. Baldessarini, MD

Published: February 1, 1999

Article Abstract

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 patientswith 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 SuicidalBehavior. 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 asproposed approaches to future research. This supplement summarizes the proceedings of the symposium.Conclusion: The symposium strongly supported the proposition that suicide is amenable toethical 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 resultof mood and other psychiatric disorders, and to improve their early recognition and enhance timelyaccess to effective treatment by the psychiatric and general medical community.

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Volume: 60

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