Fast Five Quiz: Suicide

Stephen Soreff, MD

Disclosures

March 26, 2019

An analysis of 164 studies on commonly used suicide prevention strategies found that restricting access to lethal means of suicide is an effective strategy. For example, blocking access to sites such as bridges led to an 86% reduction in suicide, whereas restricting access to analgesics was linked to a 43% reduction.

Suicidal behavior, especially among adolescents, has been linked to other adolescents who attempt or complete suicide. A longitudinal study found that knowing someone who had died by suicide was associated with increased suicidality outcomes for all age groups. Exposure to suicide predicts ideation and attempts. Thus, sadly, media attention to a suicide event leads to increased incidence of people taking their life by suicide.

A correlation has long been noted between low levels of total serum cholesterol and suicidal activity. Olié and associates found lower cholesterol levels in persons who attempted suicide, suggesting serum cholesterol levels could possibly be used as a biologic marker for potential suicide risk.

In the United States, most suicides occur in the spring; the month of May particularly has been noted for its high rate of suicide. The speculation is that during the winter and early spring, people with depression are often surrounded by persons who are feeling downhearted because of the weather. However, with the arrival of the spring season and the month of May, people who are depressed because of the weather are cheered and people who are depressed for other reasons remain depressed. As others cheer up, those who remain miserable must confront their own unhappiness. A report from the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania determined that compared with other time frames, the period from November to January typically has the lowest daily rates of suicide for the year.

Read more about suicide here.

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