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Identifying and Managing Suicidality in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

1
Independent Consultant, Burlingame, CA 94010, USA
2
Center for Community Research, DePaul University, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
3
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2T 4L8, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kenneth J. Friedman, Lucinda Bateman and Kenny Leo De Meirleir
Healthcare 2021, 9(6), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9060629
Received: 30 March 2021 / Revised: 14 May 2021 / Accepted: 16 May 2021 / Published: 25 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ME/CFS – the Severely and Very Severely Affected)
Adult patients affected by myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) are at an increased risk of death by suicide. Based on the scientific literature and our clinical/research experiences, we identify risk and protective factors and provide a guide to assessing and managing suicidality in an outpatient medical setting. A clinical case is used to illustrate how information from this article can be applied. Characteristics of ME/CFS that make addressing suicidality challenging include absence of any disease-modifying treatments, severe functional limitations, and symptoms which limit therapies. Decades-long misattribution of ME/CFS to physical deconditioning or psychiatric disorders have resulted in undereducated healthcare professionals, public stigma, and unsupportive social interactions. Consequently, some patients may be reluctant to engage with mental health care. Outpatient medical professionals play a vital role in mitigating these effects. By combining evidence-based interventions aimed at all suicidal patients with those adapted to individual patients’ circumstances, suffering and suicidality can be alleviated in ME/CFS. Increased access to newer virtual or asynchronous modalities of psychiatric/psychological care, especially for severely ill patients, may be a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic. View Full-Text
Keywords: severely ill; suicide screening; suicide assessment; suicide management; chronic illness; primary care; outpatient; adult severely ill; suicide screening; suicide assessment; suicide management; chronic illness; primary care; outpatient; adult
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chu, L.; Elliott, M.; Stein, E.; Jason, L.A. Identifying and Managing Suicidality in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Healthcare 2021, 9, 629. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9060629

AMA Style

Chu L, Elliott M, Stein E, Jason LA. Identifying and Managing Suicidality in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Healthcare. 2021; 9(6):629. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9060629

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chu, Lily, Meghan Elliott, Eleanor Stein, and Leonard A. Jason 2021. "Identifying and Managing Suicidality in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" Healthcare 9, no. 6: 629. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9060629

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