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A young refugee woman attended antenatal clinic on the Thai-Myanmar border at 9 weeks' gestation. As part of an ongoing study of perinatal mental health, she underwent a structured psychiatric interview during which she described occasional depressed mood, anhedonia and passive suicidal ideation. Her husband was a young refugee known to use alcohol and drugs. 2 days later, the couple committed suicide together by herbicide ingestion. Refugee populations are at risk of developing mental disorders as a result of their marginalised status, socioeconomic disadvantage and exposures to trauma. Pregnancy may have exacerbated feelings of hopelessness in this couple. The prevalence of mental disorders such as depression is increased in the perinatal period and suicide is the second leading cause of death in young women globally. Prevention programmes and early recognition of mental disorders may improve detection and lead to better support for vulnerable individuals.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/bcr-2016-215527

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMJ Case Rep

Publication Date

15/09/2016

Volume

2016

Keywords

Adolescent, Depression, Family Characteristics, Fatal Outcome, Female, Humans, Male, Myanmar, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Refugees, Suicide, Thailand, Young Adult