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Cognitive behavioral therapy for suicidal behaviors: improving patient outcomes

Authors Mewton L, Andrews G

Received 20 October 2015

Accepted for publication 19 January 2016

Published 3 March 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 21—29

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S84589

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Rebecca Sargisson

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Igor Elman

Louise Mewton,1 Gavin Andrews2

1National Health and Medical Research Council Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, 2Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD), St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Abstract: This systematic review provides an overview of the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in reducing suicidal cognitions and behavior in the adult population. We identified 15 randomized controlled trials of CBT for adults (aged 18 years and older) that included suicide-related cognitions or behaviors as an outcome measure. The studies were identified from PsycINFO searches, reference lists, and a publicly available database of psychosocial interventions for suicidal behaviors. This review identified some evidence of the use of CBT in the reduction of both suicidal cognitions and behaviors. There was not enough evidence from clinical trials to suggest that CBT focusing on mental illness reduces suicidal cognitions and behaviors. On the other hand, CBT focusing on suicidal cognitions and behaviors was found to be effective. Given the current evidence, clinicians should be trained in CBT techniques focusing on suicidal cognitions and behaviors that are independent of the treatment of mental illness.

Keywords: suicidal behaviors, suicidal cognitions, CBT

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