Mental Health and Suicide: How Each Affects the Other

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The state of our mental health affects every single area of our lives.

It’s one of the dominant influences over how we view and feel about ourselves, others and the world around us. It has the power to assist us in holding fast to hope no matter how much we’re struggling, or it can be the defining factor that pushes us to give in to despair.

Poor mental health is just one of the many elements that contribute to a person’s decision to commit suicide, a terrible act that affects many other lives besides the one that is claimed.

Survivors of suicide loss often experience poor mental health as a result of the tragedy they’ve experienced, which can lead to the development of mental health disorders and illnesses when left untreated.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the relationship between mental health and suicide. We’re going to discuss how poor mental health can lead to suicide, as well as how suicide affects the mental health of a suicide survivor (a survivor in the sense of someone who lost a loved one to suicide, not someone who survived a suicide attempt).

Mental health and suicide

Research reveals 1-in-10 Americans are struggling with a mental illness, though the number is confirmed to be much higher since the majority of people never seek any form of treatment.

The state of mental health in the average American is poor. 

This mental health crisis is due to a combination of factors, including but not limited to: 

  • Direct experience of or exposure to trauma
  • A job or life that is predominantly sedentary
  • Little-to-no nature and sun exposure
  • Increased substance use (legal or illegal)
  • High-inflammatory diets (diets that are high in disease-associated foods, such as sugar, alcohol, vegetable oils and “white flour”)

Just one of these factors can negatively impact someone’s mental health, but a combination (or all) of them puts an individual at high risk for developing a mental health illness or disorder.

Can poor mental health lead to suicide?

Yes, poor mental health can lead to suicide. 

The majority of suicides and suicide attempts are committed by people who are experiencing a psychiatric disease, often in addition to struggling with a substance use disorder. Sometimes the suicide was intended, and other times it was unintentional, as we often see in the case of drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning.

Regardless, these tragic deaths leave a horrific, lasting impact on the suicide survivors who now have to process and move forward in their life after experiencing the trauma of losing a family or friend to suicide.

Suicide and mental health

Suicide survivors — also referred to as survivors of suicide loss — experience a rollercoaster of thoughts, emotions and questions after losing a family member or friend. It’s easy to become consumed with “what if” questions, or go over every encounter with the loved one in your mind to see if there was something you missed — but this guilt does more harm than good.

We are not responsible for the actions of other people, and it is not up to us to bear the weight of the consequences of others’ own actions. Suicide is a grievous act, one that pulls a person to the darkest, most hopeless places of their mind; someone struggling on this level requires professional medical help in order to recover.

Despite these truths, our human tendency to focus on our faults and failings can lead us to become obsessed with the past. We can destroy the state of our mental health in grieving, which is why it’s equally as important for survivors to seek professional help. 

Get confidential support today

High Focus Centers is a premier service provider that specializes in providing outpatient treatment programs for mental health and substance use disorders.

Our team’s number one priority is your recovery. We know that no two people are alike, which is why no two of our treatment plans, programs, or services are alike. During the intake process, we’ll work closely with you to create an individualized treatment plan that’s truly designed to fit your unique recovery needs and goals.

To learn more about how you can begin taking steps toward recovery today, send a message to our admissions team today.