Denial of suicidal intent behind self-inflicted injury can be barrier to mental health treatment

Denial of suicidal intent behind self-inflicted injury can be barrier to mental health treatment

Of the major roadblocks confronting mental health treatment, one of the prominent problems identified by a recent study is the outright denial of a suicide attempt by patients of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Highlighting the clinical attributes of the patients coming to hospitals for self-inflicted injuries, the study indicated that the symptoms of mental disorders can be identified in such people through psychiatric consultation. Since the nondisclosure of a suicidal attempt increased the chance of being discharged from hospital by 10.86 times compared to others, it becomes difficult to diagnose psychiatric disorders on time.

Suicide is one the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States. In 2016, there were nearly 9.8 million people aged 18 years and above who experienced serious suicidal thoughts. Out of this, approximately 1.3 million contemplated nonfatal suicidal attempts. Even though suicide is a willful act of killing oneself, there is always a lurking factor that triggers suicidal ideation. In majority of the cases, an underlying mental health condition is the prime trigger. Therefore, it becomes important to screen patients being treated for self-inflicted wounds and injuries for any underlying mental disorder.

The study, conducted by the University of Louisville, indicated that the nondisclosure of suicidal attempts by the patients not only turns into a potential barrier to the mental health care administered to them but also affects the future course of their treatment. The study analyzed the electronic medical records of 128 survivors of self-inflicted gunshot wounds at a level 1 trauma center at Nashville, Tennessee. They identified that 29 percent of them denied any suicidal intent behind the self-harm. And, among these 29 percent, around 43 percent had a questionable circumstance; hence, their denials were suspected as a suicide attempt.

Social stigma leads to false denial of suicidal intent

Contemplating suicide is not only a punishable offense but also a social stigma. People attempting suicide are often presumed to be morally weak, leading a messy life and suffering from an unstable mind. The moral dissection of people suffering from suicidal ideation can leave them too scared to share their dark and fearsome thoughts with others. To save themselves from misplaced and preconceived notions, people not only deny the suicidal intent but also hesitate in seeking admission to inpatient treatment facilities for psychiatric illnesses. However, it is important to understand that suicidal ideation and psychiatric disorder are deeply related.

According to a previous study, most of the people who commit suicide have a psychiatric disorder at the time of death. Therefore, it becomes essential to identify the signs of psychiatric disorders associated with suicide. Although psychiatric disorder alone does not trigger suicidal ideation, a combination of risk factors like environmental stressors, traumatic experiences, substance abuse, etc. can lead to self-harm. Of all, major depression and alcohol abuse are the two most common disorders widely associated with suicidal intents.

Don’t shy away from sharing inhibitions

The denial of suicidal intent at the time of seeking treatment for self-inflicted injuries prevent health care providers to conduct further diagnosis and investigations. This enables the underlying disorder to exacerbate further. Therefore, it is important for the hospitals and treatment centers for self-Injury disorder to improve their assessment and interventions for the survivors of a suicidal attempt during their self-Injury disorder treatment. Moreover, patients should not shy away from sharing their inhibitions due to social stigma attached with suicide and accept their suicidal intent to ensure a healthy life ahead. Also, if any individual is experiencing self-Injury disorder due to an underlying mental disorder, it is always advisable to seek immediate medical help.

If you or your loved one is experiencing suicidal ideation or any other mental problems, connect with Sovereign Health for holistic treatment as well as any other underlying mental health or substance use disorder. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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