Suicide-Focused Group Therapy

Crisis. 2022 Dec 20. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000892. Online ahead of print.


Background: Although there are several studies focusing on group models for therapy specific to suicidal thoughts and behaviors, scoping reviews providing an overview of these studies' findings are limited. Aims: The aim of this paper was to conduct a scoping review of group therapies that explicitly target suicidal thoughts and behaviors (i.e., suicide-focused) for adults and their suicide-related outcomes. Methods: Following the PRISMA-ScR guidelines, a literature search using PubMed, Cochrane Library, and PsycINFO to identify relevant records published between 2000 and 2021 as well as a review of reference lists from relevant records was conducted. Results: There were 14 records identified with 12 unique suicide-focused group therapies. Even with variable methodological designs, sample sizes (M = 136, SD = 98), and population targeted, all records showed reductions in suicide-related outcomes by the end of the therapy; although most were not powered to determine effectiveness. Limitations: This review only included records written in English and excluded support groups that were led by peers as the focus was on therapy groups and gray literature. Conclusions: There are few evaluated therapy groups that explicitly address suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Available data indicate suicide-focused group therapy are generally feasible, acceptable, and may reduce suicidal-related outcomes. This is encouraging for future research; recommendations to include randomized controlled trials of the efficacy of suicide-focused group therapy are discussed.

Keywords: group therapy; suicidal behaviors; suicidal ideation.