Opportunities to Intervene

"Warning Signs" for Suicide in the Days Before Dying

Published in: Death Studies [Epub January 2017]

Posted on RAND.org on March 14, 2017

by Rajeev Ramchand, Enchanté Franklin, Elizabeth Thornton, Sarah Deland, Jeffrey Rouse

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To validate warning signs for suicide, researchers interviewed 20 respondents, representing 17 suicides in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, about characteristics of the decedent in the year, month, and days preceding the death. Decedents did exhibit behaviors consistent with existing warning signs, but these were rarely new behaviors present 7 days prior to the suicide but not previously. Research is needed to continue to test warning signs for suicide, and education campaigns that teach warning signs may not be relevant for preventing suicide among those in mental health treatment or involved in the criminal justice system.

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