Category FAQs Search : Schizophrenia

Question: Depression and suicide

Answer: Many people with schizophrenia experience periods of depression. Do not ignore these symptoms. If depression is not treated, it can worsen and lead to suicidal thoughts.

Studies have shown people with schizophrenia are at an increased risk of suicide.

If you've been feeling particularly down over the last month and no longer take pleasure in the things you used to enjoy, you may be depressed. See your GP for advice and treatment.

Immediately report any suicidal thoughts to your GP or care co-ordinator.

A. The warning signs of suicide
The warning signs that people with depression and schizophrenia may be considering suicide include:

i) making final arrangements – such as giving away possessions, making a will or saying goodbye to friends
ii) talking about death or suicide – this may be a direct statement such as, "I wish I was dead", or indirect phrases such as, "I think that dead people must be happier than us", or "Wouldn't it be nice to go to sleep and never wake up?"
iii) self-harm – such as cutting their arms or legs, or burning themselves with cigarettes
iv) a sudden lifting of mood – this could mean a person has decided to try to end their life (suicide) and feels better because of their decision

B. Helping a suicidal friend or relative
If you see any of these warning signs:

i) get professional help for the person, such as from a crisis resolution team or the duty psychiatrist at your local A&E department
ii) let them know they're not alone and you care about them
iii) offer your support in finding other solutions to their problems

If you feel there's an immediate danger of the person attempting to end their life (suicide), stay with them or have someone else stay with them. Remove all available means of suicide, such as sharp objects and medication.

(Source: The National Health Service (NHS), 12 May 2021)

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