Dr. Linda Chamberlain lives in Alaska, where suicide rates are “typically double the national rate”, she says in this blog post on the web site of the Scattergood Foundation. She’s the Thomas Scattergood Scholar on Child Behavioral Health this year. As founder of the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project, she’s concerned about domestic violence and child abuse, which the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study found are risk factors for suicide. She points out how ACEs increase the risk of suicide:
Early adverse childhood experiences [ACEs] dramatically increase the risk of suicidal behaviors. ACEs have a strong, graded relationship to suicide attempts during childhood/adolescent and adulthood. An ACE score of 7 or more increased the risk of suicide attempts 51-fold among children/adolescents and 30-fold among adults (Dube et al, 2001). In fact, Dube and colleagues commented that their estimates of population attributable fractions for ACEs and suicide are “of an order of magnitude that is rarely observed in epidemiology and public health data.” Nearly two-thirds (64%) of suicide attempts among adults were attributable to ACEs and 80% of suicide attempts during childhood/adolescence were attributed to ACEs. Further, while system responses to family violence continue to place greater emphasis on physical forms of abuse, the strongest predictor of future suicide attempts in ACE research was emotional abuse.
Holy Toledo. These numbers are nothing but scary. And tragic.
One of the ways that communities can begin to prevent suicide is to understand adverse childhood