The connection between suicides and concussions

Scientists have long known that brain injuries and suicide are linked. However, a 2016 study answers the question of exactly how many brain injury victims end up taking their own lives. The study shows that a brain injury victim has triple the chance of committing suicide than anyone else.

A Canadian research group looked at health insurance records for over 235,000 people to arrive at this figure. Their study results were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal earlier this year. Instead of merely looking at people who needed to be hospitalized for weeks, the study reviewed ordinary persons who merely had concussions and not only people who had severe brain injuries. For those who had committed suicide, the study revealed that 31 out of every 100,000 brain injury patients ended up dying from suicide. This is triple the statistic for non-brain injury patients.

The average time period from a mild concussion until the suicide happened was approximately 5.7 years. However, every concussion received would increase the statistical risk of suicide. The report found that individuals coming from a lower economic status had an even higher risk of suicide following a concussion. The report also found that people who suffered a concussion on the weekend had a higher likelihood of killing themselves by a factor of four than non-concussion victims.

Doctors recommend that Ontario residents who suffer from a concussion provide themselves with enough time to recover and rest. Also, those who suffer a concussion in an accident caused by another person's negligence, could be able to pursue financial compensation from the at-fault party by holding him or her liable for negligence in civil court.

Source: Washington Post, "The terrifying link between concussions and suicide," Erin Blakemore, accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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