Year: 2001 Source: Psychosomatics, v.42, no.5, (September-October 2001), p.382-390 SIEC No: 20020775

The risk of suicide is greater among patients with physical illnesses than among the general population. This study evaluates the clinical characteristics and correlates of suicidal ideation in patients with acute life-threatening physical illnesses & assesses the duration of suicidal ideation. Study patients included those admitted with stroke, traumatic brain injury, myocardial infarction, or spinal cord injury (n=496). Patients were given a semistructured psychiatric interview & a series of standardized scales of mood, cognitive function, physical impairment, social ties, & social functioning. It was found that 7.3% of patients with acute medical illness had clinically significant suicidal ideation, especially among patients with major depression. About 25% with major depression & acute physical illness developed suicidal ideation. Findings suggest that the detection & treatment of depressive disorders is the most important factor in preventing suicide among this patient population. (38 refs.)