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One in Four Suicide Attempt Survivors Are Now Thriving, According to Study

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

If you are a survivor of a suicide attempt or attempts, you may have struggled with thoughts that your life will never get better, and you will not get the mental health support that you deserve. But, life can get better, and a new study is highlighting just this.

Researchers from the University of Toronto found that one in four survivors of suicide attempts in Canada are now psychologically thriving. They used data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey–Mental Health, from which they looked at the cases of 796 respondents who had a history of suicide attempts. The study was published in the Archives of Suicide Research journal in late July.

The researchers investigated how many of the respondents achieved complete mental health, which is measured by the absence of suicidality in the past year, happiness or satisfaction, and social and psychological wellbeing. 28.4 percent of people achieved CMH, and people with two suicide attempts were less likely to achieve CMH than people with one suicide attempt.

In addition, the researchers found that these factors were associated with the increased chance that people are psychological thriving after a suicide attempt:

  • Having a person you can confide in
  • Not living with chronic pain
  • Not experiencing insomnia
  • Being female
  • Being older
  • Having a higher income
  • Having no history of mental illness, including bipolar disorder, major depressive episode, or generalized anxiety disorder

As many suicide attempt survivors know, it takes work to get into a better place mentally. In an article for The Mighty, contributor Amani Omejer wrote about how writing and being creative have helped her. “For the five years since my suicide attempt, I’ve written and drawn cartoons almost every day,” she writes. “In my journal, on my blog, for online magazines and printed projects. I don’t know where I would be without this creative practice, that describes and expresses what spoken words cannot.”

The researchers of the study published in the Archives of Suicide Research also believe that helping people manage chronic pain could help suicide attempt survivors. “Adults with a history of suicide attempts can achieve an excellent level of mental health,” they wrote. “These findings suggest that interventions to promote social support and manage chronic pain and insomnia may be helpful.”

If you want to support a suicide survivor in your life, members of The Mighty’s mental health community shared tangible ways to support them here. 

Image via Getty Images/lzf

Originally published: August 2, 2021
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