Family Situation Important Factor for Repeat Suicide Attempts In a new study, researchers discovered that a variety of factors can independently impact suicide-related behaviors in young people.

Anne Rhodes, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Keenan Research Centre of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, looked at whether factors such as permanent removal from the parental home by the courts due to maltreatment, neighborhood size or income, gender, severity of first visit to an emergency department, age or having a mental disorder made youth significantly more likely to repeat suicide-related behavior.

“We wanted to look at potential risk factors in order to better understand how to prevent the need for repeat visits for suicide-related behaviors in this young population,” Rhodes said.

“This knowledge can then be used to guide preventive interventions.”

The study looked at data from 6,484 youths age 12 to 17 who were seen in an emergency department for suicide-related behavior in Ontario between 2004 and 2008. Researchers then looked to see who among these youth had repeat visits until the end of December 2010.

Investigators were specifically interested in the risk of repetitions among the 179 youths who had been removed from their parental home. Sure enough, those kids were twice as likely to repeat than their peers.

Overall, youths at risk for repetitions had a high prevalence of mental disorder, which increased their risk of repetition about twofold.

Girls and youth aged 12 to 13 were more likely to repeat than boys and those older than 13.

“These findings highlight the importance of assessing youth’s family situation and whether they have a mental disorder to help prevent repetitions,” Rhodes said.

“As no one type of mental disorder stood out, assessments need to be comprehensive. Treatment teams also need to work closely with social workers and possibly child welfare agencies and those with expertise in child maltreatment.”

The paper appeared in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.

Source: St. Michael’s Hospital

Abstract of depression and suicidal thinking photo by shutterstock.