by Josefine Maria Zacher | Apr 19, 2016 | Blog, Depression
Using mHealth for suicide prevention is cost-effective and scalable. Every year, more than 800,000 people take their own lives and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Every suicide affects families and communities, leaving long-lasting effects on the people left behind. In 2012, suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds globally. 
Suicide is a serious public health problem; however it can be prevented with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions. 
There isn’t a single cause for suicide. Most often, it occurs when stressors exceed the current coping abilities of individuals suffering from a mental health condition. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse increase the risk for suicide, especially when unaddressed. Yet it’s important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions lead fulfilled lives. 
Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond. 
A study conducted in Denmark from 1981 to 1997 aimed to explore suicide risk according to time since admission, diagnosis, length of hospital treatment, and number of prior hospitalisations.
The study revealed that suicide risk peaks in periods immediately after admission and discharge. The risk is particularly high for patients with affective disorders and for those with short hospital treatment. These findings should lead to systematic evaluation of suicide risk among inpatients before discharge and corresponding outpatient treatment, and family support should be initiated immediately after the discharge. 
“There isn’t any time to lose,” says Thomas Lethenborg, CEO at Monsenso. “Suicide attempts are extremely high the week after patients are being discharged from the hospital. It’s very difficult for the patient and their families to know what to do, and this is where the Monsenso mHealth solution can make a huge difference,” Mr. Lethenborg added.
The Monsenso mHealth solution can help clinicians to remotely monitor patients who have been recently discharged from hospital. After being discharged, patients will be urged to download the Monsenso smartphone app where they will fill in daily self-assessments revealing their current state of mind.
With the information collected by the self-assessments, the smartphone app can reveal if a patient presents any warning signs of suicide and send a notification to the clinician. Every day, healthcare professionals can use the web portal to review the patients’ data, and contact the patients at risk who have been indicated by the system.
Additionally, the Monsenso mHealth solution can also allow family carers to monitor their loved one’s behaviour and intervene if necessary.
“The mental health system in Europe was poorly equipped to monitor recently-discharged suicide patients, until now,” said Mr. Lethenborg. “I am confident that the Monsenso mHealth solution can help the healthcare systems in Europe to reduce the number of suicides by empowering patients, family caregivers, and healthcare professionals to intervene before it is too late,” he added.
 World Health Organization Fact sheets
 American Foundation for suicide prevention
 Suicide Risk in Relation to Psychiatric Hospitalization. Evidence Based on Longitudinal Registers. Jama Psychiatry. Ping Qin, MD, PhD; Merete Nordentoft, MD, PhD. 2005