Teenagers, young adults with chronic illness are vulnerable to suicidal thoughts, finds study

World Suicide Prevention Day: Teenagers, young adults with chronic illness are vulnerable to suicidal thoughts, finds study

Sandra Brown (name changed) confessed to her psychologist how she had been frequently thinking about suicide. When asked about what triggered suicidal feelings in her, Brown said that the thought simply hovered in her mind and she usually pushed it away. Though it may sound odd and erratic, many people spend considerable time wondering what dying feels like.

Psychologists insist that certain undiagnosed mental health problems trigger suicidal thoughts in some people. Thoughts of this nature are not limited to any particular gender or race, nor can their intensity be grouped according to any particular social or economic ranking. There can be many reasons that may compel an individual to commit suicide. One of the most common factors for suicide may be underlying mental illness, left undetected or untreated. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), more than 44,000 people die by suicide every year in the United States. The AFSP data also indicates that on an average, 121 Americans end their lives each day.

Examining co-occurrence of prolonged illness and mental disorder

In a study titled “Suicidal Behavior Among Adolescents and Young Adults with Self-Reported Chronic Illness,” researchers suggested how young people, aged 15-30 years, suffering from acute mental disorders are thrice as likely to attempt suicide as compared to their healthy counterparts. According to the study published online in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry in August 2017, chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes and Crohn’s disease raise a young person’s chances of suicidal thoughts by 28 percent and planning such actions by 134 percent.

Elucidating the findings of the research, Mark Ferro, one of the co-authors, said, “Evidence suggests risk for suicide attempts is highest soon after young people are diagnosed with a chronic illness. There is a critical window of opportunity for prevention and continued monitoring.” For the study, the researchers had analyzed the pervasiveness of suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts throughout the year in a sample population of teenagers and young adults.

Evaluation of the link between chronic illness and suicidal thoughts and behaviors among the respondents revealed that young people exhibiting symptoms of critical illnesses are also more likely to suffer from a psychological disorder. Ferro also said how suffering from both long-standing disease and mental disorder worsens the risk of suicidal thoughts.

To raise awareness across the globe that suicide can be prevented, the World Suicide Prevention Day is observed every year on September 10. This year’s theme is “Take a minute, change a life,” which signify how communities can play an important role in supporting people who are vulnerable.

Most people tend to show more concern for their physical health problems than their lingering psychiatric disorders. They may be battling mental problems but fear to seek help for them or talk about them. It is necessary to encourage such people to come forward and reach out for medical help. The idea of designing strategies for proper health is incomplete without considering the intricacies of emotional health.

Seeking treatment for mental illnesses

The current study stresses on the need for health care providers to seriously consider the association between chronic illnesses and psychiatric problems during an assessment of their young patients. Remember that mental health problems can be treated with timely medical interventions. So, one should seek professional help immediately if he/she is suffering from any mental disorder.

Experts at Sovereign Health not only help people get rid of serious mental health problems, but also recommend behavioral interventions for complete recovery. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-973-7164 to know about our mental health rehabilitation centers in California. You may also get in touch with our online representatives for more information about our mental health facilities in California.

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