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Editorial
August 14, 2018

Traumatic Brain Injury and Risk of Suicide

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Radiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4Department of Pathology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 5Boston University College of Engineering, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 6Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease and CTE Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 7Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
JAMA. 2018;320(6):554-556. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.10825

Suicide accounts for 1.4% of deaths globally and ranks as the 17th leading cause of death overall and the second for teenagers and young adults.1 In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall, and the second leading cause of death among teenagers.2 In 2016, there were nearly 45 000 suicides in the United States, twice the number of homicides, and the US suicide rate has increased in recent years. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan, in every country, and across all socioeconomic strata. For each suicide, an estimated 20 to 25 suicide attempts occur.3 Nonfatal suicide behavior, or parasuicide, is frequently accompanied by serious medical and psychiatric comorbidity and long-term disability. Suicide creates enormous psychosocial and economic burdens on individuals, families, caretakers, and society. Yet stigma, shame, and misunderstanding keep suicide in the shadows.

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