Suicidal behaviours after natural disasters: trends and impacting factors
Various consequences including suicidal behaviours can arise in the aftermath of natural disasters. This chapter aims to give an overview of the existing theories and empirical research on natural disasters in relation to suicidal behaviours. Despite the fact that studies show different patterns of suicide mortality following natural disasters, there seems to be a drop in suicidal behaviours in the initial post-disaster period (‘honeymoon’ phase). A delayed increase in suicidal behaviours during the disillusionment phase has been reported in some studies. However, individual level factors impacting the risk of suicidal behaviours after natural disasters reported in research include previous and current mental health problems, pre-disaster suicidal ideation, personal exposure to the natural disaster, such as danger to life, injuries, loss of relatives, and destruction to property, but also level of social support and coping skills. Furthermore, contextual factors, such as cultural background, economic conditions, and social integration should also be considered. A systematic response to natural disasters is very important in order to reduce long-term mental health problems and suicidal behaviours.
Handbook of public health in natural disasters