Could Psychiatric Care Be Causing Suicides?


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)


  1. We know that suicide and psychiatric care are associated. But correlation is not cause and effect. What do we know about suicide among people placed on a waiting list for admission to a psychiatric care facility versus those admitted and medicated with anti-psychotic drugs?

    Some of the sound and fury now being generated on issues throughout psychiatry derives from studies done as far back as the 1950s. These studies demonstrated that at least for moderately depressed people who might then have been admitted to a resident facility and treated with talking therapies, there was no statistically significant difference in outcomes between those who spent six months in residence, versus those who were on a waiting list for the same time. About half of both groups declared themselves “improved” at the end of the observation period. And the type of talking therapy delivered in residence (Freudian analysis, Adlerian therapy, etc.) made no difference in outcomes.

    This type of observational trial was used (among other measures) in the 1970s as a support for restricting the number of resident beds available in treatment centers for the more severely distressed. As we should all know by now, such “cost consciousness” had the unintended consequence of throwing hundreds of thousands of people onto the street as homeless persons, or into prison as highly distressed and sometimes mentally disoriented inmates. Thus a mistake in cause-and-effect assignment can have profound consequence.

    Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D.
    Contributor on Mad In America
    “It’s NOT All In Your Head”

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    • Richard,
      Have you considered two factors?
      1) most (perhaps all) suicidal people have been sexually or otherwise abused as infants, children or adolescents, and psychiatric “care” often (or always for some people) mimics that abuse, causing overwhelming helplessness and need to escape
      2) most people having had psychiatric “care” are afraid to tell the truth–they lie their rears off to get out, protect themselves and be left alone

      Correlation isn’t causation, but psychiatry causes suicide.

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      • I agree. Psychiatry teaches people that they are chronically ill and cannot achieve their dreams. Then, their terribly misguided (to be civil) practices ensure this. Then, they treat vulnerable, wounded clients with disregard, as though they are to be observed and assessed rather than engaged with and listened to, like a human being, compounding trauma rather than relieving it. The feeling of powerlessness becomes overwhelming, and quality of life becomes so compromised, and this need not be the case at all. It is created by this incredibly limited and dualistic perspective on humanity that we call ‘psychiatry.’

        The amount of damage done to the human spirit is overwhelming. Suicide can seem like a reasonable option after what psychiatry leads people to believe about themselves. It’s really hard to not internalized the stigma that is so aggressively projected, and it’s a spirit-killer.

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        • I’ve read post by people on Quora asking: “how do I live with the fact that I have a mental illness and cannot achieve my dreams?” Or even worse: “I have a mental illness and wonder if I can have children”. It makes me sick that people think this way and wonder if they can live happy productive lives or even are allowed to reproduce. I’m always trying to answer and point people to stories on MIA for hope. Psychiatry is so incredibly damaging..

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      • Both are true. Psychiatry is re-victimisation and victim blaming at its best (worst). How can you use forced treatment on a rape victim (including nude searches in some cases), lack of privacy in intimate situations (while in a bathroom etc.) and so on is beyond me. And these people call themselves experts on mental health while they don’t understand (or ignore?) basic facts about human psychology (which are by the way obvious to anyone with a shred of empathy).

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  2. Great article as usual Rob. It was very frustrating to read many of the comments expressing either complicity or ignorance, which you handled well. Perhaps some articles and quotes by experts might help too. I regret I missed this article until I saw it on MIA today.

    I spent quite some time posting a response to your article to provide some of the evidence base that exposes biopsychiatry as scientifically, morally and medically bankrupt. I have copied it here because my comment may mysteriously disappear as has happened when I have challenged the biopsychiatry/Big Pharma cartel at AlterNet before despite their claim of being an alternative:

    My comment on Rob’s article at AlterNet:

    The ignorance about the “mental death profession” here is appalling. Here is the famous letter of long term, highly renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Loren Mosher, whereby he resigns from the American Psychiatric Association protesting the complete sellout of psychiatry to Big Pharma in the 1980’s that has only grown worse with more time. Dr. Mosher was famous for his highly successful Soteria project much like the great Open Dialogue approach today to treat those with so called “schizophrenia” often with little or no toxic drugs with complete recovery for many. The best the biopsychiatry/Big Pharma cartel can offer today is to force life destroying bogus stigmas with the latest fraud fad bipolar and toxic drug cocktails on their victims that will destroy their lives completely in a majority of cases. For those who don’t opt out via suicide due to psychiatry’s abusive, cruel, fraudulent “treatments” or aren’t driven to suicide by the useless, deadly drugs with suicide as a “side effect,” they can live in near poverty, isolation and stigma on SSI disability at the huge expense of tax payers or burden relatives in many cases. Today, SSI is also the alternative welfare whereby children must be given bogus psychiatric stigmas with forced drugging so families can quality for survival money in our horrible economy. The 1% who are the real “patients” of biopsychiatry continue to profit from the billions in profits in the “mental illness”/prison industrial complex while enslaving the rest of humanity with their increasing Orwellian fascist psychiatric agenda. This is because such crony capitalists have no conscience or ethics as shown in the book and DVD, The Corporation, and books like Without Conscience and Snakes in Suits by Dr. Robert Hare, world authority on psychopaths. These people now running the globe are what Dr. Hare identifies as intraspecies predators who have been corrupting society and causing untold human misery since human beginnings.

    For those not just pandering here because they are part of this oppressive system, there are tons of books, web sites and other resources for society to educate itself against modern psychiatric oppression and their ever growing threat to basic human, civil, democratic rights. Here are some samples of some of the best ones while many others are available at Amazon and elsewhere:

    Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America Paperback – August 2, 2011, by Robert Whitaker

    Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs Hardcover – April 4, 2013
    by Dr. Stuart A. Kirk, Dr. Tomi Gomory and Dr. David Cohen

    Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare Paperback – August 31, 2013 by Peter C. Gotzsche (Author), Richard Smith (Foreword), Drummond Rennie (Foreword)

    The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs Paperback – September 15, 2013 by Joanna Moncrieff

    Toxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy and Love Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock, and Biochemical Theories of the “New Psychiatry” Paperback – August 15, 1994 by Dr. Peter R. Breggin (Author)

    Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Revised Edition: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications Paperback – July 10, 2007 by Peter Breggin, M.D. (Author), David Cohen, Ph.D. (Author)

    Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Revised Edition: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications Paperback – July 10, 2007 by Peter Breggin, M.D. (Author), David Cohen, Ph.D. (Author)

    Pharmageddon by Dr. David Healy

    Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent Paperback – July 28, 2005 by MD Grace E. Jackson (Author)

    Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock, and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex Hardcover – December 17, 2007 by Peter R. Breggin MD (Author)

    America Fooled: The Truth About Antidepressants, Antipsychotics And How We’ve Been Deceived Hardcover – April 26, 2006 by Timothy Scott (Author)

    Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry: Blaming the Body Hardcover – January 1, 1995 by by Colin A. Ross (Author), Alvin Pam (Author)

    Great review of this book by psychiatrist:

    There are now tons of books, articles and web sites exposing the fraud and menace of biopsychiatry, so anyone who is not just looking to profit from others’ suffering like some of the so called commenters below or those who have not done the extensive research required, I urge you to check out the above books that will lead to the many other sources exposing the truth. And nothing like the truth to set us free from the fascist, coercive agenda of biopsychiatry that exists only for the purpose of coercion and social control as exposed in the great book, Mad Science, above.

    The above article by Rob Wipond exposes just the tip of the iceberg of the many suicides and deaths caused by the biopsychiatry/Big Pharma cartel, so those who think ignorance is bliss, never forget what happened in Nazi Germany. Psychiatry came up with the horrific bogus eugenics theories that instigated the Nazi Holocaust after they practiced by gassing to death those they stigmatized as mentally ill. Psychiatry had passed many shocking eugenics laws in the U.S. that led to forced incarceration, sterilization and euthanasia recommended by psychiatry in the 1930’s, but Americans were decent enough to feel ashamed by the Nazi’s use of such theories so they closed their eugenics office. Eugenics remains alive and “well” today as psychiatry promulgates bogus gene and other so called biological theories of so called “mental illness” exposed by many real gene experts like Dr. Jay Joseph in books like The Missing Gene and The Gene Illusion and by ethical psychiatrists like Dr. Peter Breggin.

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    Needless to say, this took a lot of time, but I think it’s important to spread the word wherever and whenever possible.

    It would be great if others at MIA could support Rob’s great article by helping to promote the message of MIA and the truth about the biopsychiatry/Big Pharma cartel that could include personal harm to many of the survivors here and/or their loved ones.

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  3. Are suicide prevention efforts increasing the suicide rate? I’ve always suspected as much, and here is a Danish study that seems to confirm such suspicions.

    So we are left to speculate: What might be causing these striking numbers?”


    The question we forgot to ask in the first place, rather than reacting to suicides that were taking place, is what is causing people to take their own lives.

    Depression is not a reason, but if you keep digging, I’m sure you might come up with something, perhaps several somethings.

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  4. There is one problem with this study which is very obvious: correlation does not imply causation and it can be easily dismissed as “duh, surely the people who are suicidal or otherwise feeling really bad psychologically are more likely to use the mental health services”. Of course, personally I believe that there is a strong causative link based on personal experience but also a swath of other studies which show the same trends which can’t be so easily dismissed but the criticism stands.

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  5. In my case the psychiatric medications did cause suicide attempts. I was hospitalised after exposure to one drug and my version was recorded in the records (to a limited extent). But there was no suicide risk off medication just long term recovery.

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