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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2009 Mar;119(3):236-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2008.01314.x. Epub 2008 Dec 4.

Influence of psychotherapist density and antidepressant sales on suicide rates.

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  • 1Department of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



Antidepressant sales and suicide rates have been shown to be correlated in industrialized countries. The aim was to study the possible effects of psychotherapy utilization on suicide rates.


We assessed the impact of antidepressant sales and psychotherapist density on suicide rates between 1991 and 2005. To adjust for serial correlation in time series, three first-order autoregressive models adjusted for per capita alcohol consumption and unemployment rates were employed.


Antidepressant sales and the density of psychotherapists in the population were negatively associated with suicide rates.


This study provides evidence that decreasing suicide rates were associated with both increasing antidepressant sales and an increasing density of psychotherapists. The decrease of suicide rates could reflect a general improvement in mental health care rather than being caused by antidepressant sales or psychotherapist density alone.

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