What is the reason that people are 44.3 times more likely to commit suicide if they’ve visited a psychiatric hospital within the year? AlterNet has published a commentary by Mad In America News Editor Rob Wipond, discussing the implications of a recent Danish study that either found the best predictors of suicide ever identified, or the worst causes of suicide ever identified.
“From 2,429 suicides and 50,323 controls, the researchers found that taking psychiatric medications during the previous year made a person 5.8 times more likely to have killed themselves. If a person had made contact with a psychiatric outpatient clinic, they were 8.2 times more likely to have killed themselves. Visiting a psychiatric emergency room was linked to a 27.9 times greater likelihood of committing suicide. And if someone had actually been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, they were 44.3 times more likely to have commited suicide within the year… It’s important to pause on those numbers. In the world of suicide prevention statistics, they are truly staggering. What other risk factor is associated with people being 44 times more likely to kill themselves? There aren’t any. Not even close… And that’s also why it’s all the more curious that this new study has gone largely unreported. Most discoveries of potential suicide risk factors — no matter how seemingly tenuous — ignite widespread discussion.”
“Yet it’s important to recognize that this Danish study has not emerged in isolation. For example, several studies, including one of 100 countries in 2004 and of 191 countries in 2013, have shown links between increasing funding to modern, western-style psychiatric mental health systems and increasing – not decreasing – suicide rates. The authors of those studies did not uncover clear explanations for their findings. And this new Danish study, for its part, has simply more sharply identified the precise junctures in the psychiatric care system that are most strongly linked to those increasing suicide rates. So we are left to speculate: What might be causing these striking numbers?”
Research Suggests That Psychiatric Interventions Like Admission to a Mental Facility Could Increase Suicide Risk (AlterNet, October 23, 2014)