Friends and family of suicide victims are more likely to attempt suicide themselves, according to a British study published in BMJ Open.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide was the 10th-leading cause of death in 2013. Adults ages 18-24 report the highest rate of suicidal thoughts, and a total of 9.3 million adults (3.9%) reported serious suicidal thoughts during 2013. Men are four times more likely than women to attempt suicide, representing 77.9% of all suicides.
Can the Suicide of a Loved One Raise Suicide Risk?
To explore the effects suicide can have on friends and family, researchers looked at 3,432 university staff members and students ages 18-40. Each participant had experienced a sudden death of a loved one due to either suicide or natural causes.
The results showed a clear correlation between the suicide of a friend or family member and negative outcomes for the survivor. Participants whose loved ones had died by suicide were 80% more likely to quit school or work, with a total of 8% dropping out or resigning.
Participants whose loved ones died from suicide were 65% more likely to attempt suicide themselves than if the loved one had died due to other causes. Overall, the risk of suicide when a loved one had died by suicide was 1 in 10. People whose loved ones had died by suicide felt there was more stigma surrounding the death, potentially making it more difficult to cope with their grief.
If you or someone you love are in crisis and in need of immediate help for suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. The hotline provides crisis intervention, access to local resources, and education about mental health.
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- Friends bereaved by suicide more likely to kill self: Study. (2016, January 27). Retrieved from http://www.ndtv.com/health/friends-bereaved-by-suicide-more-likely-to-kill-self-study-1270682
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- Suicide risk rises among family, friends of suicide victims: Study. (2016, January 27). Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2016-01-26/suicide-risk-rises-among-family-friends-of-suicide-victims-study
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