The following is the summary of “A comparative analysis of solitary suicides, suicides following homicide, and suicide pacts using the National Violent Death Reporting System” published in the January 2023 issue of Psychiatry by Ashley, et al.

Suicides fall into one of three broad categories: those involving a lone individual, those involving a group, and those involving a prearranged agreement. Despite the fact that the definitions of the 3 directions are distinct, no study has yet compared them to look for similarities or differences. The purpose of this research was to provide an empirical and descriptive comparison of 3 types of suicide in the United States: suicides by lone individuals, suicides following the homicide, and suicide pacts.

Researchers  used de-identified information from the National Violent Death Report System, covering 262,679 suicides by individuals acting alone, 4,352 suicides following the homicide, and 450 suicide pacts from 2003-2019. Demographics, suicide technique, context, mental health, and toxicology results were all compared between the three types of suicide incidents in pairwise fashion. There are statistically significant (P<0.05) differences in sex, race, ethnicity, marital status, education, method of suicide, financial problems, interpersonal relationship problems, physical health problems, mental health problems, mood disorders, suicide attempt history, and opiate use between lone-suicides, suicides after homicide, and suicide pacts.

Suicide by hanging, suicide after homicide, and suicide pacts are all unique events despite sharing some similarities. Various strategies for preventing suicide may be more or less effective for various subsets of suicide cases.