Barcelona snapshots

Prof. Philippe Courtet

Philippe Courtet psiquiatra Controversias Psiquiatria Barcelona
Université de Montpellier, França
Ponència Tractament de l'auto-violència
Dates 9 Setembre - 11 Setembre, 2020
Taula rodona 6 El Maneig de la Violència i l'Agressió


Philippe Courtet is Professor of psychiatry at the University of Montpellier, and Head of the Department of Emergency & acute care Psychiatry at the Academic Hospital, Montpellier, France. He leads the Chair of excellence in prevention of suicide of the Fondation Fondamental. He leads a research group "vulnerability of suicidal behaviour" in the INSERM. His areas of interest involve vulnerability to suicidal behaviour in patients with mood disorder, focusing on brain imaging and social pain. He is now implementing projects using web-based tools for assessing and managing suicidal patients.

Professor Courtet is chairman of the task force "suicide" of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry, past-President of the French Association of Biological Psychiatry and Neuropsychopharmacology, member of the European Psychiatric Association and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

He has published 299 articles in peer-reviewed journals, numerous book chapters and edited three books on suicidal behaviour.


Throughout the world, approximately 800,000 people die by suicide every year. This explains that suicidal behaviour (SB) still represents a major public health issue. However, despite the multiplication of the therapeutic strategies for psychiatric disorders during the last decades, the incidence of SB has not substantially decreased. A new era is coming with evidence-based strategies, both pharmacological and psychosocial, which should lead to change the way we deal with suicidal patients. Then, this presentation will focus on recent findings that should be implemented in our health care systems.

Up to 2016, a systematic review published in the Lancet Psychiatry reported that only few interventions provided good evidence for suicide prevention. Health care strategies were based on the treatment of depression and chain of care.

During the last 5 years, have appeared new strategies based on a paradigm shift, suggesting that we are entering in a new era for suicide prevention. Importantly, most efforts to develop interventions have moved away from the view that treating the underlying psychiatric disorder would prevent SB, to a perspective that suicide- specific treatments are more than necessary.

This new conceptualization allowed to carry out studies investigating directly the effect of some interventions in depressed patients at high risk of SB. These studies provide strong evidence favouring the implementation of short-term interventions in these patients, as soon as their visit in Emergency rooms. Pharmacological interventions suggest the relevance of drugs acting on the glutamatergic and opioid systems. Psychosocial interventions are particularly based on safety plan, phone contacts and close follow-up.

Then, we have now more evidence-based strategies than ever to prevent suicide, which should lead clinicians and stakeholders to organise care specifically for suicidal patients.