Monitoring, assessing, and responding to suicide risk in clinical research

It is essential that investigators in clinical research settings follow ethical guidelines for monitoring, assessing, and responding to suicide risk. Given the unique considerations associated with suicide risk assessment in a research context, resources informing the development of research-specific suicide risk management procedures are needed. With decades of collective experience across heterogeneous contexts, we discuss […]

Violations of suicide-prevention guidelines in US media coverage of physician’s suicide death during the COVID-19 pandemic

Background: Healthcare workers are at elevated risk for suicide; though it has yet to be studied, this risk may be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. News media coverage of high-profile suicide is associated with an increased risk of subsequent suicides. No analysis has yet been published of US media practices for reporting on healthcare worker suicides […]

Investigating the relationship between euthanasia and/or assisted suicide and rates of non-assisted suicide: Systematic review

Background: Euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) are practices that aim to alleviate the suffering of people with life-limiting illnesses, but are controversial. One area of debate is the relationship between EAS and suicide rates in the population, where there have been claims that availability of EAS will reduce the number of self-initiated deaths (EAS and […]

The ethics of facing the other in suicide

Despite a plethora of existing literature on the topic of suicide, very little attention has been given to research ethics in practice in research on suicide. When suicide research does pay attention to the ethical issues researchers are likely to face, the focus is on the roles institutional human ethics review committees fulfil to ensure […]

Navigating the ethics of internet-guided self-help interventions

Internet-guided self-help (IGSH) programs have proliferated recently to treat common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. However, technology has outpaced the development of ethical guidelines for this mode of delivery. We examine ethical challenges in this new space, including defining the role “guides” play in treatment, crisis management, and user selection and screening. […]

Re-thinking ethics and politics in suicide prevention: Bringing narrative ideas into dialogue with critical suicide studies

The purpose of this paper is to explore the conviviality between practices of narrative therapy and the emerging field of critical suicide studies. Bringing together ideas from narrative therapy and critical suicide studies allows us to analyze current suicide prevention practices from a new vantage point and offers us the chance to consider how narrative […]

Longitudinal studies support the safety and ethics of virtual reality suicide as a research method

Many have expressed concerns about the safety and ethics of conducting suicide research, especially intense suicide research methods that expose participants to graphic depictions of suicidality. We conducted two studies to evaluate the effects of one such method called virtual reality (VR) suicide. Study 1 tested the effects of VR suicide exposure over the course […]

Using my demons to make good: The short- and long-term impact of participating in suicide-related research

Participation in suicide-related research is generally associated with more positive than negative outcomes. However, sparse research has examined the longevity of any effects of participation. Here, we report the first qualitative examination of both the immediate and long-term views of participating in suicide-related research interviews. Thematic analysis indicated that participants had positive experiences, including increased […]

Everyday ethics of suicide care: Survey of mental health care providers’ perspectives and support needs

Suicide occurs in people of all ages and backgrounds, which negatively affects families, communities, and the health care providers (HCPs) who care for them. The objective of this study was to better understand HCPs’ perspectives of everyday ethical issues related to caring for suicidal patients, and their perceived needs for training and/or support to address […]

Consensus statement on ethical & safety practices for conducting digital monitoring studies with people at risk of suicide and related behaviors

Objective Digital monitoring technologies (e.g., smartphones and wearable devices) provide unprecedented opportunities to study potentially harmful behaviors such as suicide, violence, and alcohol/substance use in real‐time. The use of these new technologies has the potential to significantly advance the understanding, prediction, and prevention of these behaviors. However, such technologies also introduce myriad ethical and safety […]

The benefits and risks of asking research participants about suicide: A meta-analysis of the impact of exposure to suicide-related content

One obstacle potentially hindering research on suicide is the assumption that assessing suicide may make individuals more likely to engage in suicidal thoughts or behaviours; a concern expressed by ethics committees, researchers, and clinicians. However, decisions which are overly cautious and restrictive when approving research proposals will hinder important research in this area. The present […]

Participant reactions to suicide-focused research: Implications of studying suicide on an inpatient psychiatry unit

Background: Concerns exist regarding the perceived risks of conducting suicide-focused research among an acutely distressed population. Aims: The current study assessed changes in participant distress before and after participation in a suicide-focused research study conducted on a psychiatric inpatient unit. Method: Participants included 37 veterans who were receiving treatment on a psychiatric inpatient unit and completed a survey-based research study […]

Ethics on the edge: Working with clients who are persistently suicidal

Sometimes psychologists will defend their feeling that they ought to prevent a client from ending their life by highlighting that those who survive a suicide attempt usually report relief that they failed—a secular version of the “perils of hubris” argument of religious believers. But we know that whenever anyone makes a difficult choice, it is […]

Ethical issues and practical barriers in internet-based suicide prevention research: A review and investigator survey

Background People who are at elevated risk of suicide stand to benefit from internet-based interventions; however, research in this area is likely impacted by a range of ethical and practical challenges. The aim of this study was to examine the ethical issues and practical barriers associated with clinical studies of internet-based interventions for suicide prevention. […]

Carers’ motivations for, and experiences of, participating in suicide research

Background: First-hand accounts of lived experience of suicide remain rare in the research literature. Increasing interest in the lived experience of suicide is resulting in more opportunities for people to participate in research based on their personal experience. How individuals choose to participate in research, and their experience of doing so, are important considerations in […]

Ethical and political implications of the turn to stories in suicide prevention

THE stories of suicide attempt survivors are gaining broader currency in suicide prevention where they have the potential to provide privileged insights into experiences of suicide, strengthen prevention and intervention measures, and reduce discrimination and stigmatization. Stories of suicide, however, have a double-edged power insofar as their benefits are counterweighted by a number of acknowledged […]

Scientism as a social response to the problem of suicide

As one component of a broader social and normative response to the problem of suicide, scientism served to minimize sociopolitical and religious conflict around the issue. As such, it embodied, and continues to embody, a number of interests and values, as well as serving important social functions. It is thus comparable with other normative frameworks […]

Stories worth telling: Moral experiences of suicidal behavior

Moral constructions of suicide are deliberately avoided in contemporary suicidology, yet morality persists, little or imperfectly acknowledged, in its practices and in the policies, discourses, and instruments that it underpins. This study used narrative methodologies to examine the normative force of suicidology and its implications for persons who had engaged in an act of nonfatal […]

Ethical concerns in suicide research: Results of an international researcher survey

Researchers and research ethics committees share a common goal of conducting ethically sound research. However, little is known of researchers’ experiences in obtaining ethics approval for suicide-related studies. This study aimed to investigate what concerns researchers have received on suicide-related ethics applications and how they dealt with it. Thirty-four respondents, recruited through the International Association […]

Ethics, transparency, and public health at the intersection of innovation and Facebook’s suicide prevention efforts

As clinical evidence for digital health struggles to keep pace with rapid advances in machine learning, the health care field finds itself in a dilemma between evidence-based care and innovative research. Suicide prevention offers an illustrative example of this dilemma with rising suicide rates, especially in younger adults, underscoring the urgent need for new approaches.

Champions for social change: Photovoice ethics in practice and ‘false hopes’ for policy and social change

Photovoice methodology is growing in popularity in the health, education and social sciences as a research tool based on the core values of community-based participatory research. Most photovoice projects state a claim to the third goal of photovoice: to reach policy-makers or effect policy change. This paper examines the concerns of raising false hopes or […]

Ceremonies of relationship: Engaging urban Indigenous youth in community-based research

Indigenous communities from around the world, and particularly marginalized youth from within these communities, have not always been adequately included and valued as potential collaborators in various research processes. Instead, research has relegated Indigenous youth to subjects where adults, operating primarily from Western knowledge positions and assumptions, remain the experts. Given the role of research […]

Ethical and competent care of suicidal patients: Contemporary challenges, new developments, and considerations for clinical practice

Clinical work with suicidal patients has become increasingly challenging in recent years. It is argued that contemporary issues related to working with suicidal patients have come to pose a number of considerable professional and even ethical hazards for psychologists. Among various concerns, these challenges include providing sufficient informed consent, performing competent assessments of suicidal risk, […]