Survivors of Suicide Attempts (SOSA) Support Group: Preliminary Findings from an Open-Label Trial

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Abstract

Suicide attempt survivors represent a high-risk group for death by suicide; however, few empirically supported, tailored interventions exist for this population. One intervention format that may be useful in reducing suicide risk among suicide attempt survivors is support groups co-led by a clinician and peer survivor. This study aimed to evaluate changes in suicidal symptoms and resilience appraisals following attempt survivors’ participation in the Survivors of Suicide Attempts (SOSA) support group. A sample of 92 suicide attempt survivors was recruited to participate in the 8-week SOSA support group. Individuals completed self-report measures of suicidal symptoms (i.e., suicidal ideation, hopelessness, suicidal desire, and suicidal intent) and resilience appraisals immediately prior to and following participation in the SOSA program. Paired t tests were utilized to examine pre-post symptom changes. Participants in this study reported significant reductions in suicidal ideation, hopelessness, suicidal desire, and suicidal intent after completing the SOSA program. Additionally, individuals reported significant increases in resilience appraisals following SOSA group participation. Of note, individuals engaged in concurrent mental health treatment did not demonstrate significantly greater reductions in suicidal symptoms than those not engaged in concurrent treatment, highlighting the potential utility of the SOSA intervention. Findings suggest that the SOSA support group model may be useful in therapeutically impacting suicidal symptoms and increasing resilience among suicide attempt survivors. However, to establish SOSA’s efficacy, further research is warranted to replicate these findings utilizing a randomized controlled trial design to compare outcomes from the SOSA support group to treatment as usual.

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