Family Treatments for Individuals at Risk for Suicide A PRISMA Scoping Review

Sarah R. Sullivan, Angela Page Spears, Emily L. Mitchell, Samantha Walsh, Chase Love, Marianne Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: This PRISMA scoping review explored worldwide research on family-based treatments for suicide prevention. Research on this topic highlights the importance of facilitating familial understanding of a suicidal individual. Aim: The review sought evidence of outcomes of trials in which both the patient and family member in the intervention arm attended the same sessions at which suicide was openly discussed. Method: To explore this topic, the authors searched for randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials using Medline (Ovid), PsycINFO (Ovid), Social Services Abstracts (EBSCO), and Web of Science on July 8, 2020. Results: Ten different studies were included that spanned five treatment modalities. Specifically, of the interventions in these 10 articles, 40% employed some sort of cognitive-behavioral therapy, 20% examined attachment-based family therapy, 20% used family-based crisis intervention, and the remaining 20% were distinct interventions from one another. Additionally, several of these articles demonstrated rigorous study methodology and many of the articles reported significant improvements in suicidal ideation or behaviors. Conclusion: Several important research gaps were identified. While this approach has been largely understudied, and to date has been primarily researched in adolescent populations, family interventions have great potential for treatment and prevention of suicidality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-60
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • family treatment
  • family-based crisis intervention
  • suicide prevention


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