According to a new research by the Australian National University's Center for Mental Health Research and the Center for Research on Ageing, Health and wellbeing, individuals who have recently seen the end of a de-facto relationship or marriage have a higher tendency to have suicidal thoughts.
Based on the results of the research, the trauma of the separation coupled with the ripple effect and subsequent changes that it impacts on one's daily life may prove to be too much, especially within the first year.
"The prevalence of suicidal thoughts among recently separated men and women is three times higher than for those who remain married, or in de-facto relationships," said Dr Philip Batterham of the ANU Centre for Mental Health Research, the study's lead author.
The study involved more than 6,600 respondents between the age of 20 and 64 from Canberra and nearby Queanbeyan. The study began in 2000 and will have follow up interviews every 4 years, until 2020.
The trend showed to be higher for the younger population, specifically it is most common among people in their 20s, and lowest for those in their 60s. The 20s age group also reported a higher number of more recent and impending separations, said the study.
The researchers sought to investigate whether the time both before and after a breakup of the relationship presented a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours. The study's findings indicated there is a higher incidence of suicidal thoughts after relationship end, as opposed to the risk before the separation, up to four years prior.
Through the report, Batterman and his team emphasised the importance of having support systems in place to provide the necessary services and the all-too-critical early intervention. He goes on to say that there is a "need for governments and health services to better target mental health services to people who have recently separated from a marriage or a relationship."
The report's findings will be in the June edition of Social Science & Medicine.
According to the WHO, over 800,000 people die from suicide each year, equating the rate to roughly one death every 40 seconds. Risk factors include mental illness, primarily depression and alcohol use disorders, abuse, violence, loss, cultural and social background, represent major risk factors for suicide.
The challenge of addressing suicide is compounded by lack of awareness of its magnitude and taboo-notion of suicide.