Portion of suicides resulting from bereavement could be prevented: A nested case-control study

Acta Psychiatrica ScandinavicaScott Cunningham MD PhD, et al. | September 15, 2022

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Over one’s lifetime, nearly one-fourth of the population will bereave the loss of a close family member or friend due to suicide.

The risk of suicide, suicide attempts, and psychiatric disorders is increased in such individuals, as shown in the current study. Specifically, 10% of those bereaving the loss of a family member or friend by suicide will attempt suicide themselves.

A nationwide nested case-control study was conducted involving Danish-born individuals who committed suicide between 1 January 1980 and 31 December 2016 (n=32,348). Three categories were established: bereavement with suicide following the suicide of a first-degree relative; bereavement without suicide following the suicide of a first-degree relative; and suicide not associated with bereavement.

Bereavement with suicide following the suicide of a first-degree relative was more common than suicide not associated with bereavement (OR=2.90) and bereavement without suicide (OR=1.48).

It was estimated that 60% of suicides during bereavement following the suicide of a first-degree relative can be prevented.

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