Self-Harm Can Be a Harbinger of Suicide

April 14, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


The results of a recent study suggest that adults who self-harm may be at higher risk for suicide in the following year than the general population. Researchers examined national Medicaid data on adult patients who were diagnosed with an initial episode of self-harm and found that their one-year risk for suicide death was about 37 times higher than in a comparison group. They also found that self-harm patients who used violent methods, such as firearms, were at higher risk for suicide in the month after the initial event compared to self-harm patients who used non-violent methods. “The patterns seen in this study suggest that clinical efforts should focus on ensuring the safety of individuals who survive deliberate self-harm during the first few months after such attempts—particularly when a violent method such as a firearm has been used,” said Dr. Mark Olfson, lead author and professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.

Spark Extra! Read the study abstract.