The Importance of Screening for Suicide Risk in Chronic Invisible Illness, by Cathy L Pedersen in Journal of Health Science & Education Vol 2(4): 1-5 2018


Many people suffering from chronic invisible illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome/ myalgic encephalomyeletis (CFS/ME), fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) report increased suicidal ideation and past suicide attempts compared with the general population.

A number of factors contribute to suicide risk in chronic illness. Physical factors, like sleep disturbance and pain, as well as psychosocial issues like perceived burdensomeness (feeling like a burden to others), thwarted belongingness (lack of connection to a social group), loneliness, and depression may contribute to an increased suicide risk.

Healthcare practitioners are encouraged to actively screen for suicide risk in their chronically ill patients, and have a protocol in place to refer their patients to proper community resources.

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