The experience of discussing suicidal topics in an outpatient support group for people with mental disorders



The article reviews the experience of discussing suicidal topics at the support group for people with mental illness. We analyze the influence of suicidal manifestations on the group leaders and participants and discuss the main approaches to work with suicidal manifestations and the limitations set by the group and its participants’ mental disorders. We formulate the following goals, which emerge when suicidal topics arise in a support group: preventing suicide and preventing the formation of the syndrome of emotional burnout among the leaders. The tasks necessary to reach the goals are described: increasing the competence level of the group leaders with regards to suicide manifestations, clarifying the severity of suicidal behavior and risk, preventing suicidal behavior from becoming a common response, identifying personal motivation for suicidal behavior, detecting the relationship between the power of suicidal tendencies and the state of mental health and improving compliance. We discuss the ways of fulfilling these tasks and limitations associated with them.

General Information

Keywords: suicide, mental disorders, support group

Journal rubric: Workshop and Methods

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Boiko O.M., Maklin M.V., Enikolopov S.N. The experience of discussing suicidal topics in an outpatient support group for people with mental disorders. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2018. Vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 92–103. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2018260206. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Aniskin D.B. Samoubiistvo kak sotsial’no-psikhiatricheskaya problema: Avtoref. diss. kand. med. nauk. [Suicide as social-psychiatric problem: Ph. D. (Medicine) Thesis]. Moscow, 1997. 25 p.
  2. Beck A., Rush A., Shaw B., Emery G. Kognitivnaya terapiya depressii [Cognitive Therapy of Depression]. Saint Petersburg: Piter, 2003. 289 p. (In Russ.).
  3. Borisonik E.V., Lyubov E.B. Kliniko-psikhologicheskie posledstviya suitsida dlya sem’i zhertvy [Clinical and Psychological Consequences for the Families of Suicide Victim]. Konsul’tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya [Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy], 2016. Vol. 24 (3), pp. 25—41. doi:10.17759/cpp.20162403003. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  4. Wasserman D. (ed.). Naprasnaya smert’: prichiny i profilaktika samoubiistv [Suicide: An Unnecessary Death]. Moscow: Smysl, 2005. 310 p.
  5. Woolis R. Esli vash blizkii stradaet dushevnoi bolezn’yu [When Someone You Love Has A Mental Illness]. Moscow: Nolidzh, 1998. 192 p. (In Russ.).
  6. Kernberg O. Tyazhelye lichnostnye rasstroistva: strategii psikhoterapii [Severe Personality Disorders: Psychotherapeutic Strategies]. Moscow: Nezavisimaya firma “Klass”, 2001. 464 p.
  7. Kononchuk N.V. O psikhologicheskom smysle suitsidov [Psychological meaning of suicidal behavior]. In Sel’chenok K.V., Taras A.E. (eds.). Psikhologiya ekstremal’nykh situatsii [The Psychology of Extreme Situations]. Moscow: AST; Minsk: Kharvest, 2002, pp. 52—55.
  8. Lyubov E.B., Nosova E.S. Suitsidal’noe povedenie v nachale psikhicheskikh rasstroistv: otchayanie i nadezhda [Suicidal Behavior at The Beginning of The Mental Disorders: Despair vs. Hope]. Suitsidologiya [Suicidology], 2017. Vol. 8 (2), pp. 28—31.
  9. Prognoz i preventsiya samopovrezhdenii i suitsidov [Prognosis And Prevention Of Self-Injuries And Suicides]. Konsul’tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya [Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy], 2017. Vol. 25 (3), pp. 153—169. doi:10.17759/cpp.2017250311. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  10. Romek V.G., Kontorovich V.A., Krukovich E.I. Psikhologicheskaya pomoshch’ v krizisnykh situatsiyakh [Psychological assistance in crisis]. Saint Petersburg: Rech’, 2007. 256 p.
  11. Steiner J. Psikhicheskie ubezhishcha. Patologicheskie organizatsii u psikhoticheskikh, nevroticheskikh i pogranichnykh patsientov [Psychic retreats. Pathological Organizations in Psychotic, Neurotic and Borderline Patients]. Moscow: “Kogito-Tsentr”, 2010. 237 p. (In Russ.).
  12. Suitsidal’nyi patsient [The suicidal patient] [Elektronnyi resurs] // Mezhdunarodnye novosti psikhiatrii ot Eleny Mozhaevoi [ International news of psychiatry from Elena Mozhaeva]. Available at: (Accessed 10.05.2018).
  13. Tiano S., Menor I., Vensan M. Zhelanie umeret’ i zhelanie sovershit’ samoubiistvo u podrostka — posledovatel’noe zhelanie ili dva raznykh fenomena? [Are the desire to die and the desire to commit suicide one consistent desire or two different phenomena?]. Obozrenie psikhiatrii i meditsinskoi psikhologii imeni V.M. Bekhtereva [Review of psychiatry and medical psychology named after V.M. Bekhterev], 2005. Vol. 2 (2), pp. 19—21.
  14. Shneidman E. Dusha samoubiitsy [The Suicidal mind]. Moscow: Smysl, 2001. 315 p. (In Russ.).
  15. Yalom I. Statsionarnaya gruppovaya psikhoterapiya [In-patient Group Psychotherapy]. Moscow: Eksmo, 2011. 476 p. (In Russ.).
  16. Bryan C.J., Mintz J., Clemens T.A., Leeson B., Burch T.S., Williams S.R., Maney E., Rudd M.D. Effect of crisis response planning vs. contract for safety on suicide risk in U.S. Army soldiers: A randomised clinical trial. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2017. Vol. 212, pp. 64—72. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2017.01.028

Information About the Authors

Olga M. Boiko, Research Associate, Medical Psychology Department, Mental Health Research Center, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Maria V. Maklin, PhD in Psychology, Medical Psychologist, Department of Rehabilitation, Mental Health Research Center, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:

Sergey N. Enikolopov, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Head of Department of Clinical Psychology, Mental Health Research Center, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 1443
Previous month: 5
Current month: 7


Total: 580
Previous month: 5
Current month: 0