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J Affect Disord. 2011 Oct;133(3):423-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2011.04.036. Epub 2011 May 20.

Suicide and suicide attempts in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD).

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  • 1Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081, USA.



The current report describes individuals with bipolar disorder who attempted or completed suicide while participating in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) study.


Baseline and course features of individuals with suicide events are described.


Among the 4360 people with bipolar disorder enrolled, 182 individuals made 270 prospectively observed suicidal acts, including 8 completed suicides. This represents a suicide rate of .014 per 100 person years in STEP-BD, which included frequent clinical visits, evidence based care, and standardized assessment at each patient contact. Approximately 1/3 of those who attempted suicide had more than one attempt during study participation. Those who completed suicide tended to do so early in study participation, and half of them did so on their first attempt.


While this study is limited to description of individuals and precipitants of completed suicides and attempts in STEP-BD, further analyses are planned to explore risk factors and potential interventions for prevention of suicidal acts in persons with bipolar disorder.


Persons with bipolar disorder are at high risk for suicide. Overall rates of suicide events in STEP-BD were lower than expected, suggesting that the combination of frequent clinical visits (i.e., access to care), standardized assessment, and evidence-based treatment were helpful in this population.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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