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J Natl Med Assoc. 2009 Nov;101(11):1090-5.

Depression, suicidal ideation, and attempts in black patients with sickle cell disease.

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Department of Psychiatry, Division of Medical Psychology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.


There is a strong relationship between suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and depression. Rates of successful suicides are relatively high among the chronically ill compared to other populations but are reduced with treatment. Depression and suicide rates also often differ among blacks as compared to other populations. Using survey methods, we evaluated self-reported rates of depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts in 30 male and 37 female black patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). SCD is a condition characterized by chronic, unpredictable pains and psychosocial distress. Thirty-six percent of the sample self-reported depression in the past 30 days, while 22 percent of the sample exhibited scores on the Beck Depression Inventory indicative of mild or greater depression (mean BDI, 8.31 +/- 7.79). Twenty-nine percent of patients indicated an episode of suicidal ideation and 8%, a suicidal attempt in their lifetime. Thirty-three percent reported treatment by a mental health professional. We conclude that there is a continuing need for mental health services in the management of depressed affect and risk for suicide among patients with SCD. Standards of clinical care must remain flexible to accommodate the mental health needs of this population of patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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