New studies reveal encephalitis patients are at a high risk of committing self harm or suicide.

The two papers, from authors in the UK and Mexico, published on World Encephalitis Day on Feb. 22, discovered that 37.5% of survivors of Encephalitis reported they had thought about or attempted (4.4%) suicide; 12.5% of patients had suicidal behaviours during early stages of the illness with nearly half (5.83%) carrying out a suicide attempt. 

Encephalitis is a brain inflammation and it can be brought on by the brain being infected (infectious encephalitis) or by the immune system mistakenly attacking the brain (post-infectious or autoimmune encephalitis).

Co-author for both papers and CEO of the Encephalitis Society, Dr. Ava Easton, said in a statement that these impactful and significant research papers can totally raise awareness that suicidality can be a common and serious manifestation of encephalitis in the early stages as a result of the illness, during relapses, and possibly later in people’s journeys of recovery.

“We want anyone affected by encephalitis and mental health problems, including thoughts of suicide and self-harm, to know that symptoms are often highly treatable and help and support are available from the Encephalitis Society wherever they live in the world.” Easton said.  

“World Encephalitis Day is a focal point for our global community who have been affected or impacted by Encephalitis. On this very important day we want to project unity, common ground and offer support while we raise awareness.” Easton added.

Through World Encephalitis day, the  Encephalitis Society continues to raise global awareness about the neurological condition which 77% of people around the world are either unaware of or are not properly informed about. 

Also held on World Encephalitis Day was  #Red4WED campaign. 

More than 170 famous landmarks and buildings around the world were lit red for the day. The Jet D’Eau in Geneva, the BBC Television Centre in London, the Optus Stadium in Australia, and the Dancing House in Prague are just a few of the selected sites being highlighted.  

The Encephalitis Society will also run “BrainWalk” a fund-raising event for the Encephalitis Society where organizations and individuals are encouraged to walk, jog, and run as they can throughout the month of February as they battle it out to the top of the BrainWalk leaderboards. Those participating in BrainWalk are encouraged to walk to their nearest landmark that has been lit up red for encephalitis. Those interested to take part in BrainWalk are encouraged to visit their website at   Czyrish Aubrey Conopio