Suicidal ideation reported by adults with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes: results from Diabetes MILES-Australia

Diabet Med. 2016 Nov;33(11):1582-1589. doi: 10.1111/dme.13022. Epub 2015 Dec 8.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult