A promising study indicates that the amount of lithium that may be present in drinking water could be an important factor to reduce suicides.
The research was conducted by the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London.
On the occasion, Anjum Memon, president of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine at BSMS and the principal author, commented that, “it is promising that high levels of traces of lithium in drinking water may exert an anti-suicide and have the potential to improve the mental health of the community.”
The scientist added that, “lto the prevalence of mental health conditions and the national rates of suicide are increasing in many countries. Around the world, more than 800,000 people die by suicide each year and suicide is the leading cause of death among people 15 to 24 years. In these unprecedented times of pandemic COVID-19 and the consequent increase in the incidence of mental health conditions, access to ways of improving the mental health of the community and reduce the incidence of anxiety, depression, and suicide is becoming more and more important.”
Lithium is one of the minerals that is increasingly used as a medicine to help in the treatment of mental illness, such as episodes of mania and depression.
By his side, Allan Young, chair of mood disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London said that, “lI levels of lithium in drinking water are much lower than those recommended when lithium is used as medication, although the duration of the exposure may be much longer, potentially beginning at conception”. These findings are also consistent with the finding in clinical trials that lithium reduces suicide and related behaviors in persons with a mood disorder”.
The study included a systematic review and a meta-analysis of previous research on the subject, made in Austria, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Japan and the united States, that correlated the levels of lithium naturally in the samples of drinking water and suicide rates in 1,286 cities and regions in these countries.
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