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Legal,  Personal Injury Law

Suicide is more common in brain injury victims, study finds

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are simultaneously straightforward and complex; when we hear someone has suffered a brain injury, we immediately recognize that something serious has occurred, but rarely do we understand exactly how the person’s life will change. Some brain injuries cause massive, long-term physical effects, like paraplegia. In other cases, the impacts may be much subtler; brain injuries can affect memory, communication, cognitive ability, and mental health. The job of a brain injury lawyer is to assess how their client’s life has changed and pursue compensation that reasonably reflects that.

The Danish Research Institute of Suicide Prevention recently published a comprehensive study that emphasizes the impact of TBI on mental health. By examining the medical records of seven million people over more than three decades, lead author Dr. Trine Madsen and her team found that people with traumatic brain injuries were twice as likely to attempt suicide. Individuals with no such injury faced a suicide risk of one in 200 over a 25-year period; those with a TBI had a risk of one in 100.

“Traumatic brain injury is a major public health problem that has many serious consequences, including suicide,” Dr. Madsen wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “The high prevalence of traumatic brain injury globally emphasizes the importance of preventing it in order to ameliorate its sequelae, such as increased suicide risk, which can be prevented resulting in saved lives.”

From a local perspective, improving road safety would almost certainly reduce occurrence of brain injuries in Ontario. Each of the province’s two largest cities are experiencing periods of above-average traffic accidents and fatalities.

Falls or road traffic accidents account for the largest share of brain injuries,” Madsen wrote. “Helmet use has a protective effect, especially falls related to bicycling and falls that occur at work.”

After a brain injury has occurred, a brain injury lawyer can help the victim initiate his or her recovery. By connecting the victim with therapists and leading medical and rehabilitative care, a personal injury lawyer can help their client avoid the common pitfalls that sometimes lead to depression.

“We have known for a long time that TBI may be a strong risk factor for suicidality,” Professor Huw Williams of the University of Exeter told The Telegraph for an article on the Danish study. “With TBI making people poor at remembering and planning, and being stuck in lives of chaos and no good prospects – work and family wise. TBI also makes people impulsive and often leads to depression and anxiety. So the breeding ground in the mind for self-harm.”

If you or a member of your family has suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced brain injury lawyer. Our team can assess the viability of your claim and provide guidance on the path to recovery.

Greg Neinstein

Greg Neinstein

Greg Neinstein, B.A. LLB., is the Managing Partner at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers LLP. His practice focuses on serious injury and complex insurance claims, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, long-term disability claims and insurance claims. Greg has extensive mediation and trial experience and has a reputation among his colleagues as a skillful negotiator.
Greg Neinstein

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