Weekend Concussion and Suicide Rates
An unusual new finding from researchers in Ontario, Canada, looked at a group of 235,110 patients who had experienced a concussion. The patients were followed over a 20-year period. Surprisingly, those who had suffered their concussions over the weekend had a higher risk of suicide when compared to those who had experienced concussions during the week. So far, there is no biological or scientific explanation for this interesting observation.
It is possible that those who experienced weekend concussions did not receive immediate attention or support from family or loved ones. The increased suicide rate may be related to the type of medical intervention received after a weekend concussion versus the medical intervention received after a weekday concussion. Another possible explanation could relate to whether there is a difference in the type of head injury more prevalent during the weekend versus during the week. And yet, the different suicide rates may be rooted in factors such as rest, return to work or school, and the level of responsibility taken after a weekend concussion versus a weekday concussion. These factors should all be examined more closely with further studies because they could help unravel the risk factors for concussion-related suicide.
The Future of Head Injury Management
Medical management of traumatic brain injury and concussion is focused on minimizing neuropsychological deficits. One of the key components, however, lies in protecting patients from themselves. Suicidal ideation is a complex psychiatric condition. Often rooted in seemingly inescapable emotional and physical pain, suicidal ideation affects some patients who suffer from underlying pain more than it affects others. The neuropsychological relationship between head injury and suicide presents a number of complex, unanswered questions. However, what remains clear is that head injury raises the risk of lifelong suicide and that lifelong suicide prevention is an important objective for head injury survivors.
Suicide and traumatic brain injury among individuals seeking Veterans Health Administration services. Brenner LA, Ignacio RV, Blow FC. The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Clinical features of suicide attempts after traumatic brain injury, Simpson G, Tate R, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, October 2005