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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

First major study of suicide motivations to advance prevention

Media Release
The University of British Columbia
Originally posted on June 13, 2013

Published in the official journal of the American Association of Suicidology, the work gives doctors and researchers important new resources to advance suicide prevention, improve treatments, and reduce the likelihood of further attempts.

“Knowing why someone attempted suicide is crucial – it tells us how to best help them recover,” says Prof. David Klonsky, UBC Dept. of Psychology. “This new tool will help us to move beyond the current “one-size-fits-all” approach to suicide prevention, which is essential. Different motivations require different treatments and interventions.”


The study also finds that suicide attempts influenced by social factors – such as efforts to elicit help or influence others – generally exhibited a less pronounced intent to die, and were carried out with a greater chance of rescue. In contrast, suicide attempts motivated by internal factors – such as hopelessness and unbearable pain – were performed with the greatest desire to die.

“It may be surprising to some, but focusing on motivations is a new approach in the field of suicide research – and urgently needed,” says Klonsky. “Until now, the focus has been largely on the types of people attempting suicide – their demographics, their genetics – without actually exploring the motivations. Ours is the first work to do this in a comprehensive and systematic way.”

The entire media release is here.
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