Lecture – Suicide – Rates & Risk Factors in Major Mood Disorders & Post-Hospitalization

Available with English captions.

Presented by Ross J. Baldessarini, MD, McLean Hospital – McLean Forum lecture

“The risk of suicide in this country has been rising, rising, rising over the last several decades,” according to Baldessarini.

With this increase in suicide rates has come more research into the risk factors that contribute to the problem. In particular, investigators have focused on the impact of major mood disorders on suicide rates. They have also researched the heightened risk of suicide for individuals during the period after discharge from the hospital after they received treatment for a mental illness.

Watch now to learn more about:

  • Studies into the mental health conditions most commonly associated with elevated risk of suicide
  • Demographic studies on suicide, including findings on age, region, socio-economic characteristics, and more
  • Dangers facing individuals who have attempted suicide or who have shown suicidal ideation after release from the hospital

In this talk, Baldessarini reviews recent research into the many risk factors for suicide. He describes studies showing that the risk is highest among those with bipolar disorders and severe depression. Research indicates that other conditions associated with an increased risk for suicidal acts include substance use disorder, eating disorders, depression, dementia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety.

In addition to discussing conditions, Baldessarini looks at research into the demographics of suicide risk. He reports that suicide rates are rising in many population groups in the U.S., including men, women, Hispanics, whites, and African Americans.

Much of this increase, Baldessarini reports, is happening in rural and small-town America. For example, he points out that “complicated social and economic problems” affect male, middle aged, and blue collar Americans. Loss, isolation, lack of support, and despair, along with problems with drug and alcohol misuse, contribute to rising suicide rates in this population and in these regions, he states.

Given the serious and growing problem of rising suicide, Baldessarini says more attention is needed on increasing detection and treatment.

Specifically, he calls for improvements in post-hospitalization care. He cites studies finding that suicidal risk soon after hospital discharge is extremely high, especially in cases where there was prior self-harm. He also reports that post-discharge risk appears to be associated with less secure and supportive aftercare.