Eating Disorders and Suicide Risk: Are You OK?
Many people who do not know much about eating disorders are shocked to hear that people with eating disorders have the highest mortality rate among all mental illnesses.
They may be equally shocked to learn that the reason that eating disorders have such a high death rate is because many of those who suffer with eating disorders end up taking their own lives.
For those of us who have lived with an eating disorder, this news will probably not be such a huge shock. For those who are not as familiar, here are some additional facts about the link between eating disorders and suicide:
- One in three women with bulimia will attempt suicide at least once. [i]
- Anorexia sufferers are 31 times more likely to make a fatal suicide attempt than the general population. [ii]
- Almost 15 percent of adolescents with binge eating disorder have attempted suicide. [iii]
And, friends, I have been there.
I know the hopelessness we can feel when we are struggling, and now that I am here, on the other side, I want to tell you that there is HOPE! You are NOT alone, and there is another way.
Help is just a text away
If you have thoughts of harming yourself, please text “GO” to 741741 to send a confidential text to a trained crisis counselor.
If someone you know is struggling with anxiety, depression, or an eating disorder, please ask them “Are you Okay?” and encourage them to seek help.
“R U OK?” is an Australian campaign that encourages people to ask friends and family if they are OK. We never know what people are going through and when we take a moment to ask them how they are, we might just save someone’s life.
So today, and any other day, please help someone; friends, neighbors, a stranger by letting them know that they are not alone. You can do this by asking them three simple words “Are you Okay?”
Robyn Cruze, MA is National Recovery Advocate and the online community manager for Eating Recovery Center.
[i] Corcos, M., Taïeb, O., Benoit-Lamy, S., Paterniti, S., Jeammet, P., & Flament, M. F. (2002). Suicide attempts in women with bulimia nervosa: frequency and characteristics. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 106(5), 381-386.
- Chesney, E., Goodwin, G. M. and Fazel, S. (2014), Risks of all-cause and suicide mortality in mental disorders: a meta-review. World Psychiatry, 13: 153–160.
- Arcelus, J., Mitchell, A. J., Wales, J., & Nielsen, S. (2011). Mortality rates in patients with anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. A meta-analysis of 36 studies. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(7), 724-731.
- Preti, A., Rocchi, M. B. L., Sisti, D., Camboni, M. V., & Miotto, P. (2011). A comprehensive meta-analysis of the risk of suicide in eating disorders. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 124(1), 6-17.
[iii] Swanson, S. A., Crow, S. J., Le Grange, D., Swendsen, J., & Merikangas, K. R. (2011). Prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in adolescents. Results from the national comorbidity survey replication adolescent supplement. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(7), 714-723.