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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 62 (2020) 12, 1022 - 1029


Suicide in individuals with mild intellectual disabilities

T. van den Hazel, R. Didden, H.L.I. Nijman, D.P. de Beurs

background Little is known about suicide among individuals with mild intellectual disabilities (mid).
aim To explore risk factors for suicide among a small group of clients with mid who committed suicide.
method Case files of 11 clients with mid were analysed using the Integrated Motivational Volitional model.
results Most suicides seem to have taken place impulsively and not on the basis of a predetermined plan. Most clients had comorbid mental health problems, predominantly trauma-related, impulse control and externalizing behavioural problems. The (imminent) loss of contact, such as in the case of transfer from one ward to another ward or to a facility, seems an important risk factor for suicide.
conclusion Clients with mid residing in a treatment facility may have an increased risk of suicide because of an interaction between client characteristics and treatment context.

keywords borderline intellectual functioning, mild intellectual disabilities, risk factors, suicide