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June 12, 2019

Clinical Epidemiological Research on Suicide-Related Behaviors—Where We Are and Where We Need to Go

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(8):777-778. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.1238

Clinical epidemiological research on suicide-related behaviors (SRBs) is characterized by weak associations, weak effect sizes of clinical interventions, and strong effect sizes of some means-restriction interventions. These results have led several recent JAMA Psychiatry articles to conclude that nonclinical interventions must be central components in any successful multimodal SRB prevention strategy. I agree. But I disagree with the pessimism about components of this strategy in 2 of these recent articles: an editorial by Hoge1 about the low value of existing SRB-focused clinical trials and an article by Belsher et al2 about the low value of machine-learning (ML) methods.

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