Suicide during pregnancy and the postpartum is a tragic event for the victim and profoundly impacts the baby, the family, and the community. Prior efforts to study risks for pregnancy-associated suicide have been hampered by the lack of data sources which capture pregnancy and delivery status of victims. Introduction of the United States National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) offers new insights into violent deaths by linking multiple data sources and allowing better examination of psychosocial risk factors.
The analysis used data from 17 states reporting to the NVDRS from 2003–2007 to evaluate suicide patterns among pregnant, postpartum, and non-pregnant or postpartum women. Demographic factors, mental health status, substance use, precipitating circumstances, intimate partner problems, and suicide methods were compared among groups.
The 2083 female suicide victims of reproductive age demonstrated high prevalence of existing mental health diagnosis and current depressed mood with depressed mood significantly higher among postpartum women. Substance use and presence of other precipitating factors were high and similar among groups. Intimate partner problems were higher among pregnant and postpartum victims. Postpartum women were more likely die via asphyxia as cause of death compared to poisoning or firearms
These findings describe important mental health, substance use, and intimate partner problems seen with pregnancy-associated suicide. The study highlights mental health risk factors which could potentially be targeted for intervention in this vulnerable population.
Pregnancy; postpartum; suicide; mental health; intimate partner violence
The purpose of this paper is to review the evidence estimating an impact of occupational factors on mood disorders and suicide, and the efficacy of interventions. This review is based on literature searches using Medline and Psych INFO from 1966 to 2007 (keywords: work stress, job insecurity, job strain, shift work, violence, occupational health, mood disorders, depression, and suicide). To establish the relationship between occupational variables and mood disorders, we focused on clinically significant disorders rather than depressive symptoms. During the last decade, prospective epidemiological studies have suggested a predictive association between the work environment and mood disorders. Recently, increasing numbers of clinical trials have shown favorable effect size of intervention and suggested preferable return-on-investment results. However, low awareness and social stigma still decrease workers access to treatment. Mental health professionals in conjunction with employers have to devise a creative system to make the quality care being offered more accessible to employees. In addition, further outcome data is needed to evaluate the benefit of managing mood disorders in the workplace, and to foster awareness of positive implications for employees, employers, their families, and the society at large. In addition, the work environment, with its chemical (e.g. chemosensory factors, pollutants), physical (e.g. lighting, noise, temperature, outdoor views and activities), biological (e.g., chronobiological factors, allergens, infectious agents), psychological (e.g. demand-control, effort-reward balance), social (e.g. cohesiveness, support), and organizational (e.g. leadership styles) component should meet minimal standards, and may improve with striving towards the optimum.
depression; work stress; occupational health; suicide
Suicide among African Americans is a neglected topic. Social workers practice in both clinical and nonclinical settings, and as the largest occupational group of mental health professionals, they have a unique opportunity to reach this underserved group. However, little is known about social work’s empirical knowledge base for recognition and treatment of suicidal behavior among African Americans. The authors performed a systematic critical review of published articles by social workers on African American suicide and suicidal behavior, to ascertain the state of social worker’s contribution to and knowledge of suicide risk factors and effective treatments. They conducted Web-based (for example, Social Work Abstracts, PsycINFO, PubMed, JSTOR) and manual searches of suicide research conducted by social work investigators and published in peer-reviewed journals from 1980 to 2005. References cited in the articles were used to identify candidate articles. According to the search results, social workers contributed only 11 empirical research articles focusing on African American suicide or nonfatal suicidal behavior. Risk factors for suicide are reviewed, and the implications for clinical social work practice and research are addressed.
African Americans; clinical knowledge; ethnic minority populations; suicide
This article introduces key concepts of work-related stress relevant to the clinical and research fields of psychosomatic medicine. Stress is a term used to describe the body's physiological and/or psychological reaction to circumstances that require behavioral adjustment. According to the Japanese National Survey of Health, the most frequent stressors are work-related problems, followed by health-related and then financial problems. Conceptually, work-related stress includes a variety of conditions, such as overwork, unemployment or job insecurity, and lack of work-family balance. Job stress has been linked to a range of adverse physical and mental health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Stressful working conditions can also impact employee well-being indirectly by directly contributing to negative health behaviors or by limiting an individual's ability to make positive changes to lifestyle behaviors, such as smoking and sedentary behavior. Over the past two decades, two major job stress models have dominated the occupational health literature: the job demand-control-support model and the effort-reward imbalance model. In both models, standardized questionnaires have been developed and frequently used to assess job stress. Unemployment has also been reported to be associated with increased mortality and morbidity, such as by cardiovascular disease, stroke, and suicide. During the past two decades, a trend toward more flexible labor markets has emerged in the private and public sectors of developed countries, and temporary employment arrangements have increased. Temporary workers often complain that they are more productive but receive less compensation than permanent workers. A significant body of research reveals that temporary workers have reported chronic work-related stress for years. The Japanese government has urged all employers to implement four approaches to comprehensive mind/body health care for stress management in the workplace: focusing on individuals, utilizing supervisory lines, enlisting company health care staff, and referring to medical resources outside the company. Good communications between occupational health practitioners and physicians in charge in hospitals/clinics help employees with psychosomatic distress to return to work, and it is critical for psychosomatic practitioners and researchers to understand the basic ideas of work-related stress from the viewpoint of occupational health.
Suicide is a public health problem and a leading cause of death. The number of people thinking seriously about suicide, making plans, and attempting suicide is surprisingly high. In total, primary care clinicians write more prescriptions for antidepressants than mental health clinicians and see patients more often in the month before their death by suicide. Treatment of depression by primary care physicians is improving, but opportunities remain in addressing suicide-related treatment variables. Collaborative care models for treating depression have the potential both to improve depression outcomes and decrease suicide risk. Alcohol use disorders and anxiety symptoms are important comorbid conditions to identify and treat. Management of suicide risk includes understanding the difference between risk factors and warning signs, developing a suicide risk assessment, and practically managing suicidal crises.
Suicide is a serious health problem as it is currently the third leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 24 years. Depression, which is also a serious problem for adolescents, is the most significant biological and psychological risk factor for teen suicide. Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among today’s teenagers and is related to both suicidality and depression. Suicidality refers to the occurrence of suicidal thoughts or suicidal behavior. The consensus in empirical research is that mental disorders and substance abuse are the most important risk factors in both attempted and completed adolescent suicide. Therefore, it is incumbent upon researchers to identify the factors that can lead to their prevention among today’s youth. This review compiles the existing literature on suicidality, depression, and alcohol use among adolescents spanning over the past 15 years. Both Problem Behavior Theory and Stress-coping Theory can explain the relationships among suicidality, depression and alcohol use. The prevention of suicidality is critical, especially during the early school years, when it is associated with depression and alcohol use. Suicidality, depression and alcohol use are three phenomenon that noticeably increase in adolescence marking this time period as an ideal opportunity for prevention efforts to commence. Future empirical work is needed that will further assess the impact of adolescent depression and alcohol use on suicidality. In sum, this review of empirical research highlights critical results and limitations, as well as indicates a need for continued efforts in preventing suicidality, depression, and alcohol use among adolescents.
Adolescent; depression; suicidality; substance abuse; review; USA
Adverse employment experiences, particularly exposure to unemployment and the threat of unemployment, have been strongly associated with several adverse mental and physical health outcomes including suicide. However, virtually no research has been conducted on the trans-generational impact of parental working conditions on attempted or completed suicide among their children.
We conducted a nested case control study based on a cohort, gathered in the western Canadian province of British Columbia, of male sawmill workers and a second cohort of their children. Physical and psychosocial work conditions to which fathers were exposed during the first 16 years of their children's lives, measured using the demand/control model, were linked to hospital suicide records (attempted and completed) among their children.
Two hundred and fifty children in the cohort attempted or committed suicide between 1985 and 2001. Multivariate models, with partial control for father's mental health outcomes prior to their child's suicide demonstrate, 1) a strong association between low duration of father's employment at a study sawmill and attempted suicide for their male children, 2) elevated odds for attempted suicide among female children of fathers' employed in a sawmill job with low control and, 3) a strong association between fathers in jobs with low psychological demand and completed suicides among male children.
Exposure of fathers to adverse psychosocial work conditions during the first 16 years of their children's life was associated with greater odds for attempted and completed suicide among their children.
The role of social and family environments in the development of mental health problems among children and youth has been widely investigated. However, the degree to which parental working conditions may impact on developmental psychopathology has not been thoroughly studied.
We conducted a case-control study of several mental health outcomes of 19,833 children of sawmill workers and their association with parental work stress, parental socio-demographic characteristics, and paternal mental health.
Multivariate analysis conducted with four distinct age groups (children, adolescents, young adults, and adults) revealed that anxiety based and depressive disorders were associated with paternal work stress in all age groups and that work stress was more strongly associated with alcohol and drug related disorders in adulthood than it was in adolescence and young adulthood.
This study provides support to the tenet that being exposed to paternal work stress during childhood can have long lasting effects on the mental health of individuals.
Focusing on the reported growing use of firearms to complete suicide among African Americans, this article analyzes the 1993 National Mortality Followback Survey to examine the association of firearm suicide with race, education, geographic region, access to a firearm, depressive symptoms, and mental health service utilization on decedents aged 15 years and older. After controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical variables, the analysis indicates that African American men were twice as likely as White men to use a firearm to complete suicide. The findings suggest the importance for clinicians to screen for the presence of firearms in depressed African Americans and to reduce their access to firearms. In addition, clinicians, social workers, and public health professionals should consider racial differences in correlates of firearm suicide when designing prevention and intervention initiatives.
black suicide; firearms; risk factors; mortality
Suicidal behavior is a problem with important social repercussions. Some groups of the population show a higher risk of suicide; for example, depression, alcoholism, psychosis or drug abuse frequently precedes suicidal behavior. However, the relationship between metabolic alterations in the brain and premorbid clinical symptoms of suicide remains uncertain. The serotonergic and noradrenergic systems have frequently been, implicated in suicidal behavior and the amount of serotonin in the brain and CSF of suicide victims has been found to be low compared with normal subjects. However, there are contradictory results regarding the role of noradrenergic neurons in the mediation of suicide attempts, possibly reflecting the heterogeneity of conditions that lead to a common outcome. In the present work we focus on the subgroup of suicide victims that share a common diagnosis of major depression. Based on post-mortem studies analyzing mRNA expression by in situ hybridization, serotonergic neurons from the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) from depressive suicide victims are seen to over-express cytochrome oxidase mRNA. However, no corresponding changes were found in the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) mRNA in the noradrenergic neurons of the Locus Coeruleus (LC). These results suggest that, despite of the low levels of serotonin described in suicide victims, the activity of DRN neurons could increase in the suicidally depressed, probably due to the over activation of serotonin re-uptake. No alteration was found in noradrenergic neurons, suggesting that they play no crucial role in the suicidal behavior of depressive patients.
depression; suicidal behavior; dorsal raphe nucleus; noradrenergic neurons
Wellness is an important American Indian (AI) concept, understood as being in balance with one’s body, mind, and environment. Wellness predictors are reported in this paper within the context of health. A cross-sectional randomized household survey of 457 AI adults at 13 rural health care sites in California was conducted. Measures included wellness perceptions, barriers, health status/health conditions, spirituality, cultural connectivity, high-risk behaviors and abuse history. Statistical analysis obtained the best predictive model for wellness. Predictors of wellness were general health status perception, participation in AI cultural practices and suicide ideation. Significant differences in wellness status were observed depending on experience of adverse events in childhood and adulthood (neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse). Cultural connectivity (speaking tribal language, participating in AI practices, and feeling connected to community) was also associated with perceptions of wellness. Recommendations are for culturally-appropriate education and interventions emphasizing community and cultural connectivity for improving wellness status.
Wellness; cultural connectivity; American Indians; risk factors; barriers
Little is known about suicidal ideation among general practice patients in Puerto Rico. In this study we examined the rates, severity, and correlates of suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts among general practice patients with chronic illnesses. This is important in targeting appropriate interventions and management approaches to minimize and prevent suicide.
We screened patients with chronic physical conditions at general practices. Suicidal ideation was assessed with the suicidality module of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Major depression was assessed with the Patient Health Questionnaire depression module. The relationship between sociodemographic factors, depression and suicidal ideation was examined with multiple logistic regression analysis. Among the subgroup that acknowledged suicidal ideation, we used multinomial logistic regression analysis to estimate simultaneously the multivariate associations of depression and sociodemographic factors with suicidality risk levels.
Of the 2068 patients screened, 15.4% acknowledged recent suicidal ideation. Among this group, 8.6% reported passive ideation, 3.7% active ideation without a plan, and 3.1% active ideation with a plan or attempt. According to multivariate logistic regression, suicidal ideation was higher among patients with moderately severe depression and severe depression than for those with milder symptoms. Patients aged 64 years or younger were over one and a half times more likely to acknowledge suicidal ideation than those aged 65 years and older. Compared with patients having a college degree, those with lower education had a twofold higher risk of suicidal ideation. Multinomial logistic regression analysis indicated that severe depression was associated with a higher likelihood of having a suicide plan or attempt.
The findings of this study suggest that public health strategies focusing on the systematic identification of patients with increased depression severity and the implementation of evidence-based depression treatments are relevant for minimizing and preventing suicidal behavior among general practice patients with chronic health conditions.
suicidal ideation; chronic illnesses; depression; Puerto Rican
Background Education of primary care providers about diagnosis and treatment of depression and anxiety is an evidence-based suicide prevention measure.
Aim To analyse suicide index, mental health epidemiological data and primary care provision in Slovenian regions and to identify examples of good suicide prevention practices in different Slovenian regions.
Methods Analysis of existent epidemiological data on mental health in Slovenia.
Results Anxiety and depression are the most common complaints in a representative sample of the Slovene population. The number of suicides in Slovenia had been dropping in the period from 2002 to 2006 and was again slowly rising in 2008. The number of visits to family physicians' practices because of mental health problems is low in comparison to other European countries, which might be attributed also to the high workload of family physicians. Suicide prevention programmes follow the example of the Suicide Prevention Project in the central-east region of Slovenia. This programme is based on education of primary care providers and the general public about recognition and treatment of depression in line with international guidelines.
Conclusions The differentiation of causes for suicide reduction needs further research, as well as urgent improvement in the accessibility of primary care teams in Slovenia.
family physicians; Slovenia; suicide prevention
Whereas prevalence of suicidal expressions among young people is fairly similar in different countries, less is known about associated risk factors. This study compares young people in Nicaragua and Cambodia to examine if the pattern of association between mental health problems and suicidal expressions differs.
368 and 316 secondary school students, from each country respectively, participated. Self-reported suicidal expressions, exposure to suicidal behavior in significant others and mental health problems among the students were measured using Attitude Towards Suicide (ATTS) and the Youth Self-Report (YSR) questionnaires.
Prevalence of serious suicidal expressions (plans and attempts) during recent year, did not differ between countries. Cambodian young people scored significantly higher on all eight YSR-syndromes, except for withdrawn/depressed. In Nicaragua, all YSR-syndromes were significantly associated with serious suicidal expressions in both genders compared to Cambodia where only one syndrome showed an association in each gender; Withdrawn/depressed among girls and Somatic complaints among boys. Associations between being exposed to suicide among significant others and serious suicidal expressions also differed between Cambodia and Nicaragua.
While the magnitude of serious suicidal expressions is similar between these structurally similar but culturally different countries, determinants behave differently. Qualitative studies are warranted to further explore cultural specific determinants for suicidal expressions among young people.
Suicidal expressions; Adolescents; Young People Cross-cultural comparison; Nicaragua and Cambodia
Suicide is a major public health problem with greatest risk in the very old. This paper describes an approach to reducing the risk of suicide by intervening on depression in elderly primary care patients. Depression is an appropriate target for an intervention as it is highly prevalent in primary care, is a strong risk factor for suicide, and is more often than not inadequately treated. PROSPECT (Prevention of Suicide in Primary Care Elderly: Collaborative Trial) is a National institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded collaborative study that is testing this approach to suicide risk prevention in 18 primary care practices in the United States. PROSPECT'S intervention of “guideline management” introduces a health specialist into the primary care setting to help physicians provide “on-time, on-target” treatment and long-term management of late-life depression following structured clinical guidelines. The effectiveness of the intervention in reducing suicidal risk and depression is evaluated by following a representative sample of older patients identified using a 2-stage design.
depression; suicide; intervention; elderly; primary care
Little attention has been given to the role of firearms in suicide. In 1998, firearms were the leading method of committing suicide for both men and women, responsible for three times the number of suicides compared to the next leading method. Understanding the epidemiology of firearm suicide will increase awareness of firearm suicide as a major public health problem.
Rates of firearm suicide have changed little over the past two decades and have consistently exceeded rates of firearm homicide. the firearm suicide rate among men is approximately six times that of women. While firearm suicide rates are highest among the elderly, the majority (66%) of firearm suicides are among persons under 55 years of age. Firearm suicide rates among women of all ages have dropped modestly, while rates among elderly men have risen considerably. Whites have roughly twice the rate of firearm suicide as do blacks and other race/ethnicity groups. Individual-level empirical studies have consistently indicated that keeping firearms in the home is associated with an increased risk of suicide.
For suicide prevention to be effective, the availability and use of firearms in suicides must be addressed.
Firearms; Guns; Suicide
Nurse practitioners have the power to detect suicide risk and prevent suicide, a problem plaguing rural areas of the United States. Suicide risk assessment can be completed using the HEADSS (Home, Education, Activities, Drug use and abuse, Sexual behavior, and Suicidality and depression) interview instrument. The purpose of this study was to determine if HEADSS is appropriate for guiding suicide risk assessment of rural adolescents.
High school students in Southwestern Pennsylvania completed qualitative questions from the Child Behavior Checklist and Coping Response Inventory as part of the Intervention to Promote Mental Health in Rural Youth. Qualitative content analysis was performed.
Prominent themes identified by participants included academic performance, relationships, dislikes about school, friends, death, mental health, and the future. Several minor themes concerned safety. Most known risk factors for suicide were concerns of participants.
The expansion of HEADSS to include death and safety should be considered. The modified version—HEADDSSS— can be used to guide suicide risk assessment of youth in rural Pennsylvania, ensuring both thoroughness of assessment and safety.
Physician suicide is an important public health problem as the rate of suicide is higher among physicians than the general population. Unfortunately, few studies have evaluated information about mental health comorbidities and psychosocial stressors which may contribute to physician suicide. We sought to evaluate these factors among physicians versus non-physician suicide victims.
We used data from the United States National Violent Death Reporting System to evaluate demographics, mental health variables, recent stressors, and suicide methods among physician versus non-physician suicide victims in 17 states.
The dataset included 31,636 suicide victims of whom 203 were identified as physicians. Multivariable logistic regression found that having a known mental health disorder or a job problem which contributed to the suicide significantly predicted being a physician. Physicians were significantly more likely than non-physicians to have antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates present on toxicology testing but not antidepressants or antipsychotics.
Mental illness is an important comorbidity for physicians who complete a suicide but postmortem toxicology data shows low rates of medication treatment. Inadequate treatment and increased problems related to job stress may be potentially-modifiable risk factors to reduce suicidal death among physicians.
suicide; physicians; health professionals; mental health; depression
The prevalence of suicidal ideation and predictors for suicidal ideation among Japanese workers is unknown, although a previous study reported a 30% prevalence rate of suicidal ideation in a psychosomatic clinical setting. Hence, we evaluated the prevalence of suicidal ideation and its relationship with depressive symptoms among Japanese workers.
For this purpose, a cross-sectional design was used. Major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidal ideation in 1266 workers (1100 men and 166 women, aged 20–69 years) were assessed through clinical interviews conducted in accordance with the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
A total of 34 and 70 participants were diagnosed with suicidal ideation and MDD, respectively. Suicidal ideation was especially prevalent in 40-year-olds to 49-year-olds. Six of the eight symptoms of MDD (depressive mood, loss of interest, weight loss, psychomotor agitation, worthlessness and concentration loss) were related to suicidal ideation. Depressive mood had the strongest relationship with suicidal ideation, followed by worthlessness and concentration loss. Worthlessness had the highest area under the curve in predicting suicidal ideation, followed by concentration loss and depressive mood.
We conclude that MDD symptoms—particularly depressive mood, worthlessness and concentration loss—are potential predictors of suicidal ideation in Japanese workers.
Suicide is a major public health problem. Suicide can be prevented by understanding the disorder. Attitude plays a significant role in doing so.
To assess the attitudes of mental health professionals and non-mental health professionals towards an act of suicide and to compare the two groups regarding their attitudes.
Materials and Methods:
A semistructured questionnaire having yes/no type questions was administered to 30 mental health and 30 nonmental health professionals. A blind analysis of the data was done.
Comparative analysis using mean and standard deviation and analysis of variance was performed to rate significance in differences of responses to questions that rate attitudes.
The results show a significant positive attitude of mental health professionals toward dealing with the patients who attempted suicide.
Considering the magnitude of the problem, simple training and education of nonmental health professionals can change their attitude toward patients who attempt suicide, which in turn leads to an optimal management.
The study shows that the mental health professionals are much more positive in their approach towards a patient of parasuicide.
Attitude; training; mental health professionals; nonmental health professionals; suicide
To investigate how often family physicians see adolescents with mental health
problems and how they manage these problems.
Mailed survey completed anonymously.
Province of Quebec.
All 358 French-speaking family physicians who practise primarily in local
community health centres (CLSCs), including physicians working in CLSC youth
clinics, and 749 French-speaking practitioners randomly selected from
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Frequency with which physicians saw adolescents with mental health problems,
such as depression, suicidal thoughts, behavioural disorders, substance
abuse, attempted suicide, or suicide, during the last year or since they
Response rate was 70%. Most physicians reported having seen adolescents with
mental health problems during the last year. About 10% of practitioners not
working in youth clinics reported seeing adolescents with these disorders at
least weekly. Anxiety was the most frequently seen problem. A greater
proportion of physicians working in youth clinics reported often seeing
adolescents for all the mental health problems examined in this study.
Between 8% and 33% of general practitioners not working in youth clinics
said they had not seen any adolescents with depression, behavioural
disorders, or substance abuse. More than 80% of physicians had seen
adolescents who had attempted suicide, and close to 30% had had adolescent
patients who committed suicide.
Family physicians play a role in adolescent mental health care. The
prevalence of mental health problems seems higher among adolescents who
attend youth clinics. Given the high prevalence of these problems during
adolescence, we suggest on the basis of our results that screening for these
disorders in primary care could be improved.
Suicide is a significant world health problem, with more deaths by suicide globally than by war. We need to better understand the cognitive processes underlying suicidal thinking for improved treatment development. Cognitive psychology indicates that mental imagery can be causal in determining future behavior, yet the occurrence of suicide-related imagery has not previously been investigated. Interviews with 15 depressed and formerly suicidal patients in remission found that all patients reported experiencing detailed mental imagery in addition to verbal thoughts when at their most despairing, for example images of making a future suicide attempt. A clinical measure of the severity of suicidal ideation was associated with both preoccupation with suicide-related imagery and perceived imagery realness. Echoing flashbacks in posttraumatic stress disorder, the current images appeared like “flash-forwards” to suicide. These results provide the first data to our knowledge on the existence of mental imagery in suicidality, opening a promising new avenue for research.
Mental imagery; Suicide; Intrusive memory; Flashback; Depression; Transdiagnostic; Intrusive image; Image rescripting
Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and suicide represent an important public health problem in India. Elsewhere in the world a high prevalence of symptoms of common mental disorders have been found among people who inject drugs (PWID). Research in India has largely overlooked symptoms of common mental disorders among this high risk group. This paper reports on the results of a survey examining quality of life, depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation among adult males who inject drugs living in Delhi.
Participants (n = 420) were recruited from needle and syringe programs using time location sampling and were interviewed using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Self-report symptom scales were used to measure the severity of symptoms of depression (PHQ-9) and anxiety (GAD-2) within the preceding 2 weeks. We assessed the presence of suicidal thoughts and attempts within the past 12 months.
The mean length of injecting career was 20.9 years indicating a sample of chronic injecting drug users, of whom only one-third (38%) were born in Delhi. The level of illiteracy was very high (62%), and just 2% had completed class 12. Scavenging / rag picking was the main form of income for 48%, and many were homeless (69%). One-third (33%) had been beaten up at least twice during the preceding 6 months, and many either never (45%) or rarely (27%) attended family events. We found a high prevalence of depressive (84%, cut-off ≥10) and anxiety (71%, cut-off score of ≥3) symptoms. Fifty-three percent thought about killing themselves in the past 12 months, and 36% had attempted to kill themselves.
Our findings revealed a socially excluded population of PWID in Delhi who have minimal education and are often homeless, leaving them vulnerable to physical violence, poverty, poor health, imprisonment and disconnection from family. The high prevalence of psychological distress found in this study has implications for programmes seeking to engage, treat and rehabilitate PWID in India.
The behavioral manifestations of psychotic disorders that are attributed to evil spirits in the Judeo-Christian scriptures as demonstrated by Jesus Christ have been narrated. The descriptions of false beliefs and the perceptual experiences that are consistent with the psychiatric terminologies “delusions and hallucinations” are briefly discussed. Attempt has been made to analyze the patterns of suicidal behaviors, guilt feelings, and, expressions of depressive symptoms in the Jewish culture. Of interest is the mass suicide by the Jews in the 1st century AD at the Fort Masada, perhaps the first of its kind recorded in the history. Noteworthy are alcohol and related mental health problems prevalent in the Jewish culture. While highlighting the descriptions of dreams and their revelations recorded in the Bible, it is suggested that such concepts about dreams might have influenced Sigmund Freud's classical works on dreams. The biblical messages and teachings that could be applied for psychotherapy and behavior modification strategies have been outlined. The mental concepts of Jewish culture and their relevance to Indian culture have also been discussed from a cross-cultural perspective.
Alcohol; culture; depression; delusions; dreams; evil spirits; guilt; hallucinations; psychotherapy; suicide
The global burden of mental illness is high and opportunities for promoting mental health are neglected in most parts of the world. Many people affected by mental illness live in developing countries, where treatment and care options are limited. In this context, primary health care (PHC) programs can indirectly promote mental health by addressing its determinants i.e. by enhancing social unity, minimising discrimination and generating income opportunities. The objectives of this study were to: 1. Describe concepts of mental health and beliefs about determinants of mental health and illness among women involved with a PHC project in rural Maharashtra, India; 2. Identify perceived mental health problems in this community, specifically depression, suicide and violence, their perceived causes, and existing and potential community strategies to respond to them and; 3. Investigate the impact of the PHC program on individual and community factors associated with mental health
We undertook qualitative in-depth interviews with 32 women associated with the PHC project regarding: their concepts of mental health and its determinants; suicide, depression and violence; and the perceived impact of the PHC project on the determinants of mental health. The interviews were taped, transcribed, translated and thematically analysed.
Mental health and illness were understood by these women to be the product of cultural and socio-economic factors. Mental health was commonly conceptualised as an absence of stress and the commonest stressors were conflict with husbands and mother-in-laws, domestic violence and poverty. Links between empowerment of women through income generation and education, reduction of discrimination based on caste and sex, and promotion of individual and community mental health were recognised. However, mental health problems such as suicide and violence were well-described by participants.
While it is essential that affordable, accessible, appropriate treatments and systems of referral and care are available for people with mental illness in developing country settings, the promotion of mental health by addressing its determinants is another potential strategy for reducing the burden of mental illness for individuals and communities in these settings.