The role of ECT in suicide prevention

Max Fink, Charles H. Kellner, W. Vaughn McCall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Suicide is a leading cause of death among psychiatric patients, and a leading cause of death from all causes in people younger than 30 years. The rapid relief of severe depression, mania, and psychosis by electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is accompanied by the rapid reduction in suicide drive. Electroconvulsive therapy use is, however, inhibited by fear of electricity, unreasoned prejudice, legislative restrictions, and the limited availability of trained professionals and adequate facilities. This review assesses the experience with ECT in persons with suicide risk and recommends the consideration of ECT in treatment algorithms to reduce suicide rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-9
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014


  • electroconvulsive therapy
  • suicide
  • suicide risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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