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The European Psychiatric Association Section on Suicidology and Suicide Prevention 

The European Psychiatric Association Section on Suicidology and Suicide Prevention
The European Psychiatric Association Section on Suicidology and Suicide Prevention

Danuta Wasserman

, Marco Sarchiapone

, and Vladimir Carli

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date: 21 January 2022

European scholars historically pioneered research on suicide. Attitudes towards suicide dramatically changed during nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mainly due to the recognition of psychiatry as an autonomous discipline, which allowed treatment for disorders causing suicide, such as ‘melancholy’ or ‘hysteria’, for instance, and thanks to the original contribution of illustrious scientists such as Enrico Morselli (1882) and Emile Durkheim (1897/1951). As Durkheim, in his work, regarded suicide as a social illness reflecting alienation, anomy and other side-effects of modern times, Morselli, in his earlier moral statistics comparative essay, had already stressed the influence of biological, individual, and social factors on the development of suicide, and emphasized the importance of treatment, and the role of psychic suffering in suicidal persons.

As the study of suicidal behaviours in the twenty-first century has been engaging with the novel impulse of the biological trajectory of causation, taking advantage of new perspectives which stem from recent advances in scientific technology, European psychiatrists still achieve notable results: European contribution to scientific knowledge on suicide parallels with the huge commitment in the field by North America and the recent involvement of nations from other continents. With the aim of highlighting European contribution to this specific area of psychiatry, providing cohesion and coordinating individual European researchers, a new Section on Suicide and Suicide Prevention within the European Psychiatric Association (EPA), previously known as the Association of European Psychiatrists (AEP), was conceived and established by the General Assembly during the Annual Congress held in March 2006 in Nice.

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