Adult Suicides Connected to Childhood Trauma

Often, we hear about people who attempt suicide because they have faced physical, sexual, or emotional abuse in their childhood. In fact, this is just the tip of the iceberg. These are some of the many incidents that are reported and thus come to our notice. What about the others that go unreported? The fathom of trauma that children undergo during such events is beyond our imagination. This is why they resort to a drastic step like that of suicide in later life.   What is the suicide rate?   The study was conducted on children who experience physical, sexual, and emotional abuse or neglect. It revealed that such children are at least two to three times more likely to attempt suicide in later life.   A team of psychologists conducted an analysis of 68 studies at the University of Manchester and the University of South Wales. The studies revealed that suicide attempts were:  

  • Three times more likely for people who experienced sexual abuse as a child
  • Two and a half times more likely for people who experienced physical abuse as a child
  • Two and a half times more likely for people who experienced emotional abuse or neglect as a child

Who is likely to attempt suicide?   Another research published in Psychological Medicine revealed that children who experienced multiple abuse are five times higher to attempt suicide. People who experienced abuse as children get older, the risk of suicide attempts increases. People not in contact with mental health clinicians were also found to be at the highest level of risk.   What is the rate of abuse and neglect?   Around 68 studies were carried out across the world. These studies revealed that about 262 thousand adults aged 18 years or older, were exposed to childhood abuse and neglect. Dr Maria Panagioti, from The University of Manchester based at the NIHR Greater Manchester patient safety translational research led the research team.   According to Panagioti, “Around one adult in every three has experienced abuse as a child. This study conclusively gives us solid evidence that childhood abuse and neglect is associated with an increased likelihood that they will be at risk of suicide as adults.”   She adds, “And that has important implications on healthcare. Other studies have shown that in the US, for example, the economic burden of childhood maltreatment is estimated to be around $124 billion. Current treatment for people with suicidal behaviour usually centres around Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. But that assumes people will seek to help themselves. This research identifies that people who are not under the care of clinicians are at risk. So, we need a new approach to identify these people and focus our efforts on effective community intervention.”   Dr. Ioannis Angelakis from the University of South Wales says, “These findings not only provided a clear picture of the connection between abuse or neglect in childhood and suicide attempts later on in life but also recognized that efficient interventions should take a broader community-based approach.”  

Story Source:   Materials provided by University of Manchester. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.   Journal Reference:   Ioannis Angelakis, Emma Louise Gillespie, Maria Panagioti. Childhood maltreatment and adult suicidality: a comprehensive systematic review with meta-analysis. Psychological Medicine, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S0033291718003823   Page Citation: University of Manchester. “Child abuse linked to risk of suicide in later life.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2019. <>.   Help is here

  1. Suicide Prevention
    1. Aasra
    1. AASRA volunteers conduct workshops on different levels with high-risk target groups eg school, college students, highly-stressed employees of call centers, financial institutions, multinationals etc. AASRA volunteers have Outreach programs to reach out to the multitudes who may choose to end their lives because of chronic suffering or terminal illness.
    1. 91-9820466726
  1. SAATH
    1. Saath is a voluntary organization, which was started in Ahmedabad on 27th November, 1998. It is a non-religious, non-political organization that values human life and feelings.
    1. 91-79 26305544, 26300222/

 Toll-Free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline Kiran (1800-599-0019)  1.Organization:- The Research Society 
     Web:   2. Organization:- Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children

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