Researchers at the British think-tank Demos released an eye-opening study this week, entitled the “Truth About Suicide.” The conclusion: at least 10 percent of suicides in Britain are linked to terminal or chronic illness.
Demos wanted to challenge the idea that taking one’s life was strictly about a patient’s mental health rather than physical health. Researchers stated that patients with chronic or terminal illness “should be considered a high risk group for suicide within national policy, and much greater attention should be given to providing better medical, practical, and psychological support.”
As we move forward in health care reform, studies like this bring to light the necessity to provide access to quality, affordable, and truly patient-centered care to those who are at the highest risk and the most vulnerable. For those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, disability advocates have been working with the state, identifying ways that the health care delivery system can be improved in order to better address the needs of the whole patient, rather than focusing on one component of an individual.
Additionally, such initiatives as the Public Health Trust, focusing on community based prevention work, would increase the identification and response to public health issues such as suicide.
If you are aware of someone or you are struggling with thoughts of suicide please call the national suicide prevention hotline – 1-800-273-8255.