Motivating Help-Seeking Behavior for Those with Suicidal Thoughts

Across most bodies of psychological research, evidence has emerged showing that men are far less likely to reach out for help than women. This puts men at increased risk for the negative outcomes of psychological problems. For men with depression, the lack of help-seeking could result in increased severity of depressive symptoms and even suicide.

In previous decades, the suicide rates in certain regions of the world rose dramatically, prompting immediate attention to the problem of help-seeking. In Hungary, suicide rates were particularly high in the late 1900’s. However, the development of a four-level depression and suicide prevention program, designed in to provide outreach and help to those most in need, has shown to be quite effective in recent years.

The Nuremberg Alliance Against Depression (NAAD)/European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD) involves an anonymous crisis hotline, clinical treatment, public messages, and general practitioner training and awareness. Andras Szekely of the Institute of Behavioral Sciences at Semmelweis University in Hungary wanted to gauge the effectiveness of EAAD in Szolnok, Hungary, a region with a suicide rate four times that of the the global average. To do this, Szekely assessed citizens of Szolnok before they began participating in EAAD program and again two years later. Region suicide rates were calculated before and after, and compared to those of another Hungarian region with EAAD and also to the country’s national rate.

The results were very positive, showing a decrease in suicides of over 56% in the first year, 51% in year two and more than 60% in the third year. Additionally, in the past, efforts at prevention have only shown to positively affect depression and suicide in women. But the EAAD program had an equal effect on both men and women.

Szekely believes the use of an anonymous crisis hotline provided men with a resource that they felt comfortable using. In fact, the rate of suicide and depression related calls increased 200% during the study period. Further, the community services were used more often, perhaps partly due to the exhaustive public message campaign launched by EAAD. In all, these results provide strong evidence for the effectiveness of comprehensive prevention programs like EAAD. Szekely added, “Sustainability of improvements should be a key point in future research and its implementation.”

Székely, A., Konkolÿ Thege, B., Mergl, R., Birkás, E., Rózsa, S., et al. (2013). How to decrease suicide rates in both genders? An effectiveness study of a community-based intervention (EAAD). PLoS ONE 8(9): e75081. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075081

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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Evyn


    November 7th, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    If you are feeling depressed or suicidal, there are many who feel ashamed of those htoughts and feelings and in that manner will decline to talk to about those thoughts.

    This gives people who may have otherwise been too embarassed or private a way to talk about what they are feeling but in a way that does not feel will be threatening or judgemental, just gives them an opportunity to talk things through. Which is what so many people feeling this way are looking for to begin with!

    In an ideal world we would all have friends and family members who could help us through something like this or we would feel alright going to someone and asking for help but that isn’t the case all the time. A s ervice like this steps in where there may not seem like anoither good option, and that is going to be highly beneficial for those looking for a wya out of their crisis but who have no one with whom they are close to go to for help.

  • danni


    November 8th, 2013 at 4:47 AM

    I have often thought about times of really needing someone to talk to but not feeling comfortable with friends and family just because I don’t wnat them to think that I have lost my mind. This could be a great option for times like that, times when you need someone to hear you out and to listen, no matter the time of day.

  • Carla Sims

    Carla Sims

    November 8th, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    The hard part is that even if you see that someone is in trouble there is not too much that you can do if they are not willing to seek out help for themselves. I know it’s hard but this is a time when someone has to want to get that help, and if they won’t reach out and ask there is little that can often be done. I know that this is difficult because there are times when you see friends really struggling with something and you know that there is help available for them but they are unwilling or unable to seek it out. That can be so distressing because I know they can be pulled back from the brink, but a lot of times they atill have to have that desire to heal within themselves because there is nothing that can be done until they see that there is a problem and they become willing to make a change.

  • jameson


    November 11th, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    If the truth be told, much of this has to do with how we as a society look at men and what we think should or shouldn’t be their behavior and the way that they should deal with problems.

    Far too often I think that we hear the term that someone needs to man up, stand up to the issue and strike it down. Not all men are created like that and just because you are one sex or the other doesn’t mean that you should have to conform to some “predetermined” notion of how you shouldn’t or should react.

    Telling someone that shouldn’t feel a certain way or do a certyain thing is wrong, it’s careless, and I think that many times it makes people who are already feeling down feel worse about themselves.

  • MarlonPelma


    November 14th, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    I am always been a good father,I love my kids,I’m doing everything thtat I could do to let my kids feel that I love them,even though that we are poor,I’m coin my best for my kids,my problem is my wife is my first love in my 3kids,she is so sweet and loving,and now I’m feel in she’s a fuckin demon,cause I can’t give her the necessity she wanted,she’s always say in that I’m irresponsible,and I’m a drunk f***in a**,she don’t appreciate what I’ve done with all those years we’ve been together,18years we’ve together,I’m always cryin when she’s talkin2much I always think of hang in my self

  • GT Support

    GT Support

    November 14th, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Thank you for your comment, Marlon. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at

    Warm regards,
    The Team

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