Examining the records of over seven million TBI survivors over a 34 year period, the researchers from the Danish Research Institute of Suicide Prevention found that experiencing a TBI increased the risk of suicide from one in 200 to one in 100.
The research also found that this risk is particularly high in the first 6 months, tapering off over time. This finding has serious implications for the importance of providing psychological support within the first few months of injury.
Severity of brain injury was also found to be related to suicide risk, with the highest at-risk group being those with a severe brain injury. However, even survivors of a mild brain injury were 81% more likely to commit suicide than people with no history of TBI.
Common effects of TBI such as memory problems, relationship breakdowns and depression are considered to be contributing factors to developing suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
Reference: Madsen, T., Erlangsen, A., Orlovska, S., Mofaddy, R., Nordentoft, M., & Benros, M.E. (2018). Association Between Traumatic Brain Injury and Risk of Suicide. Original Investigation, JAMA Network.
If you are feeling suicidal or experiencing psychological issues such as depression after brain injury, please contact your GP to discuss getting support. You can also ring Samaritans on 116 123 or the Headway helpline on 0808 800 2244 to get information and emotional support.
Our Depression after brain injury factsheet also provides information and tips for coping with depression, and is available below.