Researchers have discovered that nearly 40 percent of formerly suicidal Canadians have reached a state of complete mental health and happiness.
These individuals are not only free of symptoms of mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or substance abuse in the preceding year, but also report almost daily life satisfaction.
Results from the study appear online in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.
“We found that among formerly suicidal individuals, those who have someone they could confide in were seven times more likely to have complete mental health, after adjusting for potential confounders,” said lead author Philip Baiden, a Ph.D. Student at the University of Toronto.
The new research finding is consistent with prior studies that discovered individuals with greater social support, and who have someone they can count on, are less likely to suffer psychological distress and other mental illness.
Other factors associated with achieving complete mental health among formerly suicidal respondents include being older, being a woman, having higher income, and the use of spirituality to cope. Those with chronic pain, insomnia, or a history of alcohol dependency were less likely to be in complete mental health.
For the study, researchers examined data from a representative sample of 2,884 formerly suicidal adults from Statistics Canada’s 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health.
“Our findings provide a hopeful message for those in the depths of despair and their loved ones,” ” said co-author Dr. Esme Fuller-Thomson. “Long-term recovery goals should be not limited to mere remission from suicidal thoughts. A large minority of suicidal individuals can achieve a high level of happiness and complete mental health.”