New Research Finds Growth in Suicidal Thoughts and Self-Harm during and after Pregnancy

April 23, 2021

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

USA Today

A recent study found an increase in suicidal thoughts and self-harm during and after pregnancy. The study used data from 2006 to 2017 on 600,000 childbearing individuals with private insurance. Diagnoses of suicidality (i.e., suicidal thoughts and/or self-harm) rose significantly in that period, with the largest increases among people who were Black, lower income, or younger. While reasons for the trend are unclear, the researchers suggested it could be due to more effective suicide risk screening in addition to an actual increase. They emphasized the importance of ensuring access to mental health care during and after pregnancy, especially for those at high risk. Since Black and lower income people are more likely than other groups to have Medicaid instead of private insurance, the study results could be an underestimate.

Spark Extra! Learn about preventing suicide among women.