Preventing Suicidality2022-07-31

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small.

Lao Tzu

Suicidality is a spectrum: from vague thoughts that life is not worth living, to concrete suicidal ideation, planning, attempts, and completion. Most risk factors for it are non-specific, and only when they accumulate in the same person at the same time do they become drivers of suicidality. They can be easily identified, tabulated, and addressed in a personalized fashion using a comprehensive checklist, such as the one we developed, CFI-S (now also available in a more user-friendly format as a digital tool Life x Improve by MindX Sciences).

There are at least three paradigmatic subtypes of suicidality. One is reactive, driven by unhappiness with current life, stress, pain, and anxiety. It can evolve very fast, like an anaphylactic reaction, and lead to impulsive suicides. The second is active, driven by lack of hope for the future and low mood/depression. The third is disconnection, driven by perceived lack of meaning to one’s life and distorted thinking/psychosis. It can lead to planned suicides, or murder-suicides. Different psycho-social approaches can be used to target these different subtypes. Biologically, distinct blood biomarkers underline these different types, which can be used to match people to the right nutraceuticals and medications.

Prevention is key. Risk evaluation and mitigation can start with Step 1, daily tracking of feelings, thoughts, and life activities, through journaling or on an app (such as Life x Mind by MindX Sciences). Periodic evaluation of risk factors with a checklist (such as with Life x Improve by MindX Sciences), and addressing them before they accumulate, is Step 2. Lastly, evaluating biological risk with blood biomarker tests (such as MindX Blood Tests), and matching to the right preventive treatments, particularly for those at high risk, is Step 3.

With such an approach, most suicides are preventable. So, in the end it is an issue of execution and implementation. We are working hard to do our bit in this very winnable War on Suicide.

Live. Happier. Longer.