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The American Association of Suicidology, Washington, DC 20015

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Introduction

Alan L. Berman, Ph.D., Executive Director, American Association of Suicidology, President, International Association for Suicide Prevention



Maurizio Pompili, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Sant’ Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy and McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, MA

Deaths by suicide and suicidality (thoughts, nonfatal attempts, and a range of self-injurious behaviors) are tragic consequences of psychiatric disorders—an association strongly supported by research, notably psychological autopsy studies that, on average, find 90% or more of those who die by suicide to have had one or more psychiatric and/or substance abuse disorder diagnoses (Maris, Berman, & Silverman, 2000; Bertolote & Fleischmann, 2002). Rarely are suicide and suicidality thought to be associated independently with medical conditions (Juurlink, Herrmann, Szalai, Kopp, & Redelmeier, 2004); yet, for more than half a century, medical conditions have been identified as risk factors for suicide, with but scant attention to this fact in the non-psychiatric, medical world.

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