Year: 2007 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, v.37, no.5, (October 2007), p.507-517 SIEC No: 20070977

It is currently impossible to distinguish between patients with depression who will make a suicide attempt and those who will not. Prevention, therefore, must be based on the assumption that any patient with more than mild symptoms of depression is at risk of suicide, and can only be effective if it is applicable to all patients with moderate to severe depression. A treatment strategy that differentiated between regressive and progressive therapeutic measures was developed for patients admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Regressive, as opposed to progressive, treatment meant that the patient was temporarily relieved of virtually all responsibilities for self and others. Progressive measures were strictly avoided for all patients with symptoms of depression, regardless of the primary diagnosis. This strategy was tested on 5,149 inpatients and day patients over a period of 6.25 years and compared with 6,891 patients over the 15.75 years prior to this period. The suicide rate was 97 (per 100,000 admissions) compared with 319 in the previous period. The treatment method appears to be able to reduce the suicide rate. Although this result was achieved with hospital patients, it suggests that a regressive treatment method could be promising if developed for outpatient treatment as well.