Major Injuries Take a Toll on Mental Health

By on November 12, 2018

People who’ve suffered major traumatic injuries are at much greater risk for mental health problems and suicide, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 19,000 people in the Canadian province of Ontario who suffered serious injuries. Most of the injuries (89 percent) were accidental rather than intentional (for example, car crashes and falls).

“Major trauma was associated with a 40 percent increased rate of hospital admission for one or more mental health diagnoses,” said study author Dr. Christopher Evans, from the department of emergency medicine at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

“The most common mental health diagnoses were alcohol abuse, other drug abuse disorders and major depressive disorders,” Evans added.

Children and teens younger than 18 who had suffered a major injury had the largest increased risk of mental health-related hospital admission, the findings showed.

The researchers also found that the suicide rate among people who’d suffered major injuries was 70 per 100,000 people, compared with 11.5 per 100,000 people in the general population.

The study was published Nov. 12 in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

“Patients who suffer major injuries are at significant risk of admissions to hospital with mental health diagnoses in the years after their injury and of having high suicide rates during this period,” Evans and his colleagues said in a journal news release.

Mental health support should be offered to all traumatic injury patients, especially high-risk patients, the study authors concluded.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers resources on home and recreational safety.

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