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Prevalence of suicide among mental health patients

Prevalence of suicide among mental health patients

11 December | 0 Comments | By Arizona Mental Health Helpline Team

The most irreversible outcome of an untreated mental disorder is suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the tenth leading cause of death among American adults claiming lives of more than 41,000 people every year. The agency reveals that between 1999 and 2014, the suicide rate increased by 24 percent in both males and females aged 10-74.

Suicide ideation or behaviour is closely linked to undiagnosed or untreated mental disorders. As per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), prevalence of a mental illness has been observed in 90 percent of people who die by suicide. Some of the most common mental health issues putting the life of many at risk are anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse.

Need for holistic approach in preventing suicide

Suicide risks are higher among depressed individuals who experience thoughts that leave them hopeless about the future, especially among those who have a family history of suicide, are suffering from a serious or chronic medical illness or have a history of trauma and abuse. Using cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy, mental health professionals are sometimes able to mitigate suicidal tendencies, yet the risk can persist even beyond hospital stays. A study published in the JAMA Network Journals on May 31, 2017, suggests that the immediate period after discharge from psychiatric facilities is a time of high suicide risk that may continue for years.

The study by researchers from the University of New South Wales, Australia, is based on findings extracted from 100 studies reporting 17,857 suicides to find out that the mentally ill patients discharged from psychiatric hospitals have a higher risk for suicide when compared to other mentally ill individuals. It was found that the suicide rates were 654 per 100,000 person-years with follow ups from three months to one year, 494 per 100,000 person-years from one to five years, 366 per 100,000 person-years from five to 10 years and 277 per 100,00 person-years from 10 and beyond.

Therefore, such findings signify the importance that when dealing with patients suffering from mental disorders, suicide prevention steps should be taken while the patient is undergoing treatment in the hospital and also post discharge. “Efforts aimed at suicide prevention should start while patients are in hospital, and the period shortly after discharge should be a time of increased clinical focus,” said the authors. Efforts to decrease suicide rates overall should continue at the community level.

Road to recovery

People suffering from mental health disorders are constantly plagued with a feeling of helplessness and the thought of losing control of their lives can leave them depressed. Prolonged stress and negative state of mind can generate suicidal thoughts forcing an individual to end his or her life drastically. However, there are treatments available that can help identify such unhealthy thinking patterns. Through a combination of therapies and medication, underlying symptoms of a mental illness can be treated and the risk of suicide can be reduced.

If you know anyone suffering from a mental illness, the Arizona Mental Health Helpline can inform you more about the disorder and suggest an effective treatment program tailored to meet the patient’s needs. Call us on our 24/7 helpline (866) 606-7791 to get connected to some of the renowned residential mental health treatment centers in Arizona. You can chat with one of our health experts to know more about various mental health disorder treatment centers in Arizona.

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