Background: Research suggests that people suffering from chronic pain have elevated rates of suicidality. With an ageing population, more research is essential to gain a better understanding of this association.
Aims: To document the prevalence and correlates of chronic pain and suicide, and estimate the contribution of chronic pain to suicidality.
Method: Data from the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, a nationally representative household survey on 8841 people, aged 16-85 years, was analysed.
Results: The odds of lifetime and past 12-month suicidality were two to three times greater in people with chronic pain. Sixty-five percent of people who attempted suicide in the past 12 months had a history of chronic pain. Chronic pain was independently associated with lifetime suicidality after controlling for demographic, mental health and substance use disorders.
Conclusions: Health care professionals need to be aware of the risk of suicidality in patients with chronic pain, even in the absence of mental health problems.
Keywords: Chronic non-cancer pain; prevalence; suicide.
© The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 2015.