SPECIAL ONLINE FREE ACCESS VOLUME Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes


The number of suicides has increased across the United States over the past decade, particularly in rural areas. Suicide is nearly always a tragic loss of life that affects families, friends, and communities. Understanding and treating those at risk and those affected is an important task and an ongoing focus of clinical care. As a public health concern, preventing suicide is a community effort.  States, employers, schools, media and friends are part of suicide prevention.

There is no single cause of suicide. Many factors contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions. Relationship problems, substance abuse, physical health problems, financial problems, legal problems, and loss of housing are among the most significant contributing factors.

The common warning signs of emotional distress include feeling like a burden, being isolated, anxiety, feeling trapped, increased anger or rage, extreme mood swings, expressing feelings of hopelessness, sleep disturbances, and talking about or posting messages about wanting to die. Clinical care is the corner stone of preventing suicide ideation from becoming a suicide death.

In order to aid in addressing this national problem Psychiatry has compiled a series of important articles on understanding and treating suicide risk, and the special implications of suicide for families, children, and the military.  This special online volume is organized in four categories:  Understanding Suicide, Treatment of Suicide, Children and Families, and Suicide in the Military. 

Other valuable resources are available at and

Dr. Robert J. Ursano, MD, Editor

I. Understanding Suicide

II. Treatment of Suicide

IV. Suicide in the Military