TORONTO: Nearly 12 per cent of all suicide cases involves a diagnosis of schizophrenia, which affects one's ability to think clearly, finds a study.
The findings suggested that those with schizophrenia who died were also more likely to be younger, with one in five between the ages of 25 and 34 compared to just one in 10 in the non-schizophrenia group.
"This is shocking. We need to emphasise the importance of assessing the risk of suicide in younger patients with schizophrenia, particularly early in the course of illness," said lead author Juveria Zaheer from Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's (CAMH) in Canada.
In the study, published in the journal Schizophrenia Research, the team analysed data from 5,650 suicide cases in Ontario, Canada.
They found that, 663 cases that is 11.7 per cent of the entire sample had schizophrenia-related diagnosis.
While the study is mainly focused on the population from Ontario in Canada, the "finding points to an opportunity to intervene, and raises the question of whether there's a role for a suicide risk assessment and management with every young person with schizophrenia," Zaheer added.
Assessments may not be top of mind among clinicians, who are focused on managing their patients' hallucinations and delusions, she notes.
But because younger people with schizophrenia are engaged with the health care system, clinicians do need to be more vigilant about the risk of suicide in these patients.
However, the reasons why a person takes their life can vary substantially, Zaheer said.
Suicide risks might be different for those with schizophrenia compared to those with other illnesses, and looking at patterns across a population is one way to identify these risks, the research suggested.