Recent studies show that talk therapy may greatly reduce the risk of suicide. There are numerous types of therapies available for those who suffer with mental illnesses. They range in duration, effectiveness and overall difficulty level for the patients involved. Talk therapy, more commonly referred to as psychotherapy, has been a prominent type of therapy for various ailments in the psychology field.
Talk therapy, created by Sigmund Freud, who wrote about what he referred to as the talking cure, has been proven to be incredibly beneficial for those suffering from several types of depression. While this type of therapy does focus on talking about the patient’s current and past problems, the main focus is to work toward solutions and working to find ways to put the patients back in control of their lives. Psychotherapists typically give their patients homework. Talk therapy homework often includes writing about emotions and thoughts, and patients are often asked to put themselves in different situations that in the past have altered their moods in a negative way.
The therapist will of course provide their patients with a set of tools to facilitate them through this difficult journey, and the experience will be discussed at length in weekly or biweekly meetings, depending on the severity of the mental illness the patient is experiencing at the time. Another goal of talk therapy is to try to get people to see things from a different perspective than they normally would. They will be asked to pause in a situation, become aware of their inner turmoil, and then choose a different, healthier reaction.
While the benefits of psychotherapy have always been prevalent, recent studies are showing that talk therapy may greatly reduce the risk of suicide. In a study published by Lancet Psychiatry, researchers found that a patient who attempted suicide, and then participated in talk therapy had significant and sustained benefits.
The study was conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. There were roughly 65,000 volunteers who participated in the study. Each of the volunteers had attempted suicide at least once during the years of 1992 to 2010 in the country of Denmark. 20 years later researchers involved in the study followed up with the volunteers. Results showed that those who had engaged in talk therapy had a far lower risk of death.
In the group of volunteers who participated in talk therapy, results concluded that there were 26 percent fewer suicides than in the group of people who had decided not to engage in psychotherapy. While the data cannot be exact, researchers estimate that over the duration of the study, roughly 145 attempts at suicide, as well as 30 suicide completions were prevented.
In the past, there has been no specific type of therapy that has been deemed as the most beneficial for those who were suicidal, considering suicide, or had attempted suicide. The fact that this recent study has shown that talk therapy can help prevent suicide can be a huge advancement in the field of psychology. Further research needs to be done, and the different types of talk therapy and their benefits to patients need to be evaluated. It is also important to note that since there is no way for researchers to ethically perform a controlled study, the study was not controlled. Nevertheless, the results may bring hope for effective treatment to those who have considered suicide.
By: Rebecca Savastio