Tampa Bay

Suicide Attributable to Brain Injury

In the United States, suicide is among the leading causes of death with around 40,000 deaths each year. Most people are likely to associate suicide with addictions or mental illness, but not many have considered the odds of a suicide resulting from a traumatic brain injury.

On February 17, 2013, Country singer Mindy McCready was found dead on her front porch after committing suicide, in the same spot her boyfriend killed himself just a few months prior. Unfortunately for the last 5 years of her life, McCready was not getting the spotlight she had grown accustomed to. Instead, headlines for McCready revolved around her battling the courts for custody of her children or criminal charges that she has incurred. But what many people are not aware of is Mindy McCready was in an abusive relationship and previously sustained a brain injury because of the abuse.

More than 90 percent of all injuries attributable to domestic violence occur to the head, neck or face, which makes victims of abuse susceptible to brain injury. The most common manner for victims of domestic violence to sustain said injuries include being hit with an object to the head, pushed against a wall, punched directly in the head or face, shaking of the body, being strangled, or being shot in the face or head.  Brain trauma often results in a loss of consciousness, memory or concentration problems, mood changes or mood swings, depression, and anxiety.  Most victims lack knowledge concerning injuries to the brain and attribute their issues to something else. Without knowing that the brain injury may be linked to domestic violence, doctors will not be able to refer them to the correct rehabilitation facility.

In a study conducted by Dr. Jonathan Silver and his colleagues, individuals with a history of traumatic brain injuries are far more likely to commit suicide or have serious psychiatric issues compared to those who have never had an injury to the brain. Mindy McCready was a victim of a brain injury and this may have played a role in her untimely death . Brain injuries are the number one leading cause of death and disability for young adults and without the proper information on how to prevent, identify, and treat this injury; the deaths will continue to be on the rise.

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