The research underlines the challenges to mental health facing those with minority sexual orientations.
Rather than being during winter, suicides are at their height just as most people would assume overall mood is improving.
One in five suicides around the world is caused by this and the figure is rising.
Unemployment is linked to 45,000 suicides around the world each year, a new study finds.
This represents around one in five of the total number of global suicides.
The research, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, gathered data from 63 countries between 2000 and 2011 (Nordt et al., 2015).
They found that the risk of suicide due to unemployment had risen between 20 and 30 per cent across all regions of the world.
Also, since the period included the start of the recession in 2008, they were able to look at its effect.
Dr. Carlos Nordt, who led the study, said:
“After the crisis year in 2008, the number of suicides increased short-term by 5,000 cases.
Therefore, suicides associated with unemployment totaled a nine-fold higher number of deaths than excess suicides attributed to the most recent economic crisis.”
It’s not just the unemployment itself that is linked to suicide, it’s the period leading up to it when employees can face an uncertain and stressful few months, or even longer.
Suicide and unemployment
In some countries the impact of unemployment is worse, as the team explains:
“…our data suggest that not all job losses necessarily have an equal impact, as the effect on suicide risk appears to be stronger in countries where being out of work is uncommon.
It is possible that an unexpected increase in the unemployment rate may trigger greater fears and insecurity than in countries with higher pre-crisis unemployment levels.”
Dr Wolfram Kawohl, one of the study’s authors, said:
“The development on the job market was obviously anticipated and the uncertainty regarding the development of the economic situation already seems to have negative consequences.
Training for specialists such as those in the human resources department is needed to recognize this increased suicide risk in people both in and out of work more effectively and to help deal with the problem.”
Almost one in ten people worldwide has seriously considered suicide.
This positive personality trait linked to more suicidal thoughts and suicide itself.
People who have a tendency towards perfectionism are at a much higher risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide itself, research finds.
Perfectionists find it harder than others to deal with a world that is fundamentally flawed.
Perfectionism involves being highly self-critical, constantly striving to meet the standards of others (typically parents or mentors) and being unsure about the efficacy of one’s own actions.
While a certain amount of perfectionism is adaptive and necessary, when it becomes an obsession, it can lead to a vicious cycle.
People in professions which have a strong emphasis on perfectionism — like lawyers, architects and physicians — are at a higher risk of suicide.
Mr Martin Smith, who led the research, said:
“We tend to think of perfectionism as potentially a good thing.
We’re told, ‘Aim high, reach for the stars’.
But for some people, even excellence isn’t good enough, and that’s where they run into issues. Insisting on flawlessness is simply not mentally healthy, adaptive or advisable.”
The conclusions come from 45 studies involving almost 12,000 people.
The ‘meta-analysis’, which draws together the results of lots of different studies, found that perfectionism was strongly linked to suicide.
Mr Smith continued:
“We can’t at this point say perfectionism is a cause of suicide.
But we can say the two correlate closely.
The drive to be perfect – whether it’s because of internal or external pressure to succeed without ever failing – can be an unbearable and untenable strain.”
People with high levels of perfectionism do not often seek help because it would be an admission of failure.
The study’s authors write:
“Our findings join a wider literature suggesting that, when people experience their social world as pressure-filled, judgmental, and hyper-critical, they think about and/or engage in various potential means of escape (e.g., alcohol misuse and binge eating), including suicide.”
The study was published in the Journal of Personality (Smith et al., 2017).
Suicidal thoughts can fluctuate rapidly.
Most people who die by suicide do not tell doctors they have suicidal thoughts in the weeks before their death, research finds.
The finding upends the common belief that asking about suicidal thoughts is a useful way of assessing the risk of suicide.
The study found that 60 percent of people under psychiatric care who later took their own lives told a psychiatrist they did not have suicidal thoughts.
Suicidal people may hide their thoughts out of shame or perhaps the fear of being stopped.
Suicide is a relatively rare event, though, said Professor Matthew Large, study co-author:
“We know that suicide ideas are pretty common and that suicide is actually a rare event, even among people with severe mental illness.
But what we didn’t know was how frequently people who go on to suicide have denied having suicidal thoughts when asked directly.”
The new research is a meta-analysis, a way of bringing together the results of many other studies — in this case 70.
The results showed that just 1.7 percent of people with suicidal ideas went on to take their own lives.
Among people who were not under psychiatric care, 80 percent of people who ended their own life denied having suicidal thoughts to a physician.
Dr Catherine McHugh, the study’s first author, said:
“Doctors sometimes rely on what is known as suicidal ideation—being preoccupied with thoughts and planning suicide—as a crucial test for short-term suicide risk, and it has been argued it could form part of a screening test for suicide.
Our results show that this is not in the best interests of patients.”
Dr McHugh says suicidal thoughts can fluctuate rapidly:
“Some people will try to hide their suicidal feelings from their doctor, either out of shame or because they don’t want to be stopped.
We also know that suicidal feelings can fluctuate rapidly, and people may suicide very impulsively after only a short period of suicidal thoughts.”
Instead of relying on suicidal ideation, clinicians should focus on distress, said Professor Large:
“It means trying to better understand the patient’s distress and not making patients wait weeks for treatment or denying treatment in the absence of suicidal thoughts.”
The study was published in the journal BJPsych Open (McHugh et al., 2019).
Speech analysis reveals the signs of depression, suicidal ideation and psychosis in people’s speech.
Study of suicidal brains suggests that neuroinflammation could play an important role in suicidal thoughts and behaviour.
People experiencing suicidal thoughts have a certain type of inflammation in their brain, research finds.
Microglial cells activate as part of the body’s inflammatory response.
The researchers found that these immune cells were more active in depressed people who were also having suicidal thoughts.
The study suggests that neuroinflammation could play an important role in suicidal thoughts and behaviour.
It may also offer another route to treat this type of depression: through the use of drugs to reduce inflammation.
Dr Peter Talbot, one of the study’s authors, said:
“Our findings are the first results in living depressed patients to suggest that this microglial activation is most prominent in those with suicidal thinking.”
Suicidal brain study
The study involved 14 patients experiencing moderate to severe depression.
The researchers found that activation of the microglial cells was particularly strong in the anterior cingulate cortex.
This part of the brain is known to be involved in mood regulation and depression.
Dr Talbot said:
“The field now has two independent reports — our study and a 2015 report by Setiawan and colleagues in Toronto — showing essentially the same thing: that there is evidence for inflammation, more specifically microglial activation, in the brains of living patients during a major depressive episode.”
Professor John Krystal, the Editor of the journal Biological Psychiatry, said:
“This paper is an important addition to the view that inflammation is a feature of the neurobiology of a subgroup of depressed patients, in this case the group with suicidal ideation.
This observation is particularly important in light of recent evidence supporting a personalized medicine approach to depression, i.e., that anti-inflammatory drugs may have antidepressant effects that are limited to patients with demonstrable inflammation.”
The study was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry (Holmes et al., 2017).
Depressive mixed states often precede a suicide attempt.
With more and more of modern life being conducted online, the signs of severe mental distress are appearing there as well.