Sydney: Problem-solving therapy (PST) may prevent suicides by helping people overcome a state of acute hopelessness and desperation, says new research.

The trial assessed the efficacy of this therapy for those hospitalised after a suicide bid or an intentional self-harm incident.

Those receiving the PST were less hopeless; less depressed and had fewer suicidal thoughts than those who did not receive the treatment.

The randomized controlled trial by the University of Auckland looked at 1,094 people who were hospitalized between September 2005 and June 2008 in New Zealand, the British Journal of Psychiatry reports.

Those who had a history of attempted suicide or self-harm (around 40 percent of the group), the therapy significantly lowered their risk of attempting suicides the following year, according to an Auckland statement.

"Those admitted to hospital because of this are an easily identifiable high-risk group so there is an important opportunity for intervention," says Simon Hatcher, associate professor in psychological medicine, who led the study.

"The findings offer hope for those people who repeated self-harm," adds Hatcher.
(Agencies)