Mental illness and suicide are connected because having a mental illness makes a person more likely to experience and give in to suicidal thoughts. Often, people who are struggling with mental illness deal with feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness that make them consider suicide. In some cases, people with mental illness also become so overwhelmed with life’s challenges that they consider ending their lives. Sometimes, however, a person with a severe type of mental illness may even feel compelled to commit suicide. For example, he may hear voices or see visions that make him feel that he has to commit suicide.
Despite the fact that a connection between mental illness and suicide exists, an individual who has not been diagnosed with a mental illness may also consider suicide. For example, an individual may feel temporarily overwhelmed and consider taking his own life; some medications cause suicidal thoughts as well. It is important to note, however, that the lack of a mental health diagnosis doesn't mean a person is not mentally ill. For instance, if a person feels overwhelmed with sadness for an extended period, he may be suffering from a major depression, which is a type of mental illness. Sometimes people who are depressed do not seek help and diagnosis, but their conditions still fall in the mental illness category.
There are many types of mental illnesses that may lead a person to consider suicide. For example, a person with a multiple personality disorder or manic depressive syndrome may be more likely to consider and commit suicide than a person without such a disorder. Schizophrenia may also increase a person's likelihood of considering suicide. A connection between mental illness and suicide may even exist with mental health issues that seem less likely to contribute to suicide rates. For instance, anorexia, bulimia, and addiction disorders may make a person more likely to experience suicidal thoughts.
It is also important to note that the connection between mental illness and suicide may make a person not only more likely to experience suicidal thoughts, but also more likely to act on them. A person who is not mentally ill but has suicidal thoughts may be more likely to dismiss them or seek help from a professional counselor for dealing with his troubles. An individual who is dealing with mental illness, on the other hand, may not realize his thoughts are abnormal or may feel too burdened by them to seek help.