0829 GMT February 21, 2020
The Danish Research Institute of Suicide Prevention looked at medical records for seven million people over 34 years and found people who suffered a traumatic brain injury were twice as likely to try to take their own life, telegraph.co.uk wrote.
Many people who have suffered a head injury report long-term symptoms which can include memory problems, anger and personality changes.
The new research suggested that the risk of suicide over at 25 year period doubles for people who have suffered a bang to their head, rising from one in 200 to one in 100.
Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, lead author Dr. Trine Madsen, of the Danish Research Institute of Suicide Prevention, said: “Traumatic brain injury is a major public health problem that has many serious consequences, including suicide.
“The high prevalence of traumatic brain injury globally emphasizes the importance for preventing it in order to ameliorate its sequelae, such as increased suicide risk, which can be prevented resulting in saved lives.
“Falls or road traffic accidents account for the largest share of brain injuries. Helmet use has a protective effect, especially falls related to bicycling and falls that occur at work.”
Around 6,500 people commit suicide in Britain each year, and men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women. Men are around 60 percent more likely to suffer head injuries than women.
Prof. Huw Williams, Associate Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology, at the University of Exeter, said: “This is a tremendously important study.
“Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability. Maybe even greater than we knew.
“We have known for a long time that TBI may be a strong risk factor for suicidality. With TBI making people poor at remembering and planning, and being stuck in lives of chaos and no good prospects — work and family wise.
“TBI also makes people impulsive and often leads to depression and anxiety. So the breeding ground in the mind for self-harm.”
The study authors have encouraged people playing sports or riding bikes to wear helmets
Dr. Rina Dutta, Clinical Senior Lecturer King’s College London and Consultant Psychiatrist, added : “A novel and important finding is that the risk of suicide is particularly high in the first six months after a health service contact with head injury and the risk tapers off over time.
“Studies prior to this had not shown a specific risk period for suicide. This will be helpful to clinicians who must keep in mind head-injury, particularly if recent, and also frequency of health service contacts for head-injury as markers of increased suicide risk.”