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Study finds CFS patients six times more likely to commit suicide

February 09, 2016

new study published in the Lancet indicates that suicide is six times more likely in people with M.E. and CFS compared to the general population.

The study from researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London and published in The Lancet used sophisticated data-mining techniques to analyse the medical records of over 2000 people diagnosed with CFS accessing the national research and treatment service for chronic fatigue at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

The authors identify that M.E. is not a psychiatric condition, but that psychiatric assessment may be necessary for some given, as evidenced by this paper, the increased risk of suicide associated with the illness.

Sonya Chowdhury, Chief Executive, Action for M.E. says, “As the leading UK charity supporting people affected by M.E. and CFS we are, sadly, not surprised by these findings. We are often contacted by people with M.E. and CFS who are experiencing high levels of ignorance, injustice and neglect alongside isolation and a lack of support and care.

“Having such a long-term, chronic, debilitating illness undoubtedly affects emotional and mental well-being and our team regularly responds to calls and enquiries from people who are in desperate need and sometimes suicidal. This study once again highlights the devastating impact that this neurological illness can have and the need for better access to high quality personalised support and care for those who are affected by it, alongside more research into M.E. and CFS.”

The study is the largest ever analysis of the causes of death in people with CFS, and the first to suggest that people with CFS may be at an increased risk of suicide.

If you've been affected by this story and need emotional support, you can contact The Samaritans by dialling 116 123.