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Coffee and Suicide Risk

Coffee is good for your health. If you're a frequent visitor here, you know that. If you pay attention to the links between coffee and health, you knew that. And if you didn't know... well, you do now. What you may not have known is that coffee can literally save your life. Drinking two to four cups of coffee per day can decrease suicide risk by 50%. That finding came courtesy of a study published by the Harvard School of Public Health in 2013 (Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Completed Suicide: Results from Three Prospective Cohorts of American Adults), which followed an earlier study in 2011 linking coffee consumption to a decreased risk of depression in women (“Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression Among Women”). The study's authors caution that their results "suggest that there is little further benefit for consumption above 2-3 cups/day or 400 mg of caffeine/day,” and further state that increasing consumption above an individual's normal levels might harm more than it helps. In other words, if your body is telling you you've had too much, don't push it. As we're in the habit of doing with this kind of research, we'd like to sound a couple of cautionary notes. First, it's worth remembering that there are links between sleep deprivation and depression. While upping your coffee intake can help, doing it late in the day is likely to disrupt your sleep cycle, negating any benefit you might otherwise have gotten. Second, we don't suggest self-medicating; we love our coffee as much as anyone, but sometimes professional help goes a lot farther than a mocha java. Finally, if you're really at the end of your rope, please make use of the resources available at the links and phone numbers below. More Resources: The 2011 HSPH study is summarized here and the 2013 study is summarized here. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://www.afsp.org/ SPRC, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center: http://www.sprc.org/ The Suicide Prevention Lifeline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or 1-800-273-TALK (8255)