Aims: To examine the prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation (SI) in a community-based sample of adults with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
Methods: Participants were 3338 adults aged 18-70 years with Type 1 diabetes (n = 1376) or Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin: n = 1238; insulin: n = 724) from a national survey administered to a random sample registered with the National Diabetes Services Scheme. Depression and SI were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire, and diabetes-specific distress with the Problem Areas In Diabetes scale. Separate logistic regression analyses by diabetes type/treatment were used to determine relative contribution to SI.
Results: Overall, we observed a SI rate of 14% in our sample. Participants with Type 2 diabetes using insulin reported more frequent depressive symptoms, and were more likely to report recent SI (19%) compared with those with either Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes not using insulin (14 and 12%, respectively). After controlling for depression, there was little difference in the prevalence of SI between diabetes types/treatments, but higher diabetes-specific distress significantly increased the odds of SI.
Conclusions: As SI is a significant risk factor for a suicide attempt, the findings have implications for healthcare professionals, pointing to the importance of adequate screening and action plans for appropriate follow-up of those reporting depression. Our findings are also indicative of the psychological toll of diabetes more generally, and the need to integrate physical and mental healthcare for people with diabetes.
© 2015 Diabetes UK.