Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Most adolescent suicidal behavior preceded by mental health treatment

A recent research(1) showed that the lifetime prevalence of suicide ideation among adolescents was 12.1%, suicide plans 4%, and suicide attempts 4.1%. One-third of adolescents with suicidal ideation went on to develop a suicide plan and 33.9% made an attempt. Most adolescents (88.4%) who transitioned from planning suicide to attempting suicide did so within a year.

Most adolescents who had suicidal ideation (89.3%) and attempted suicide (96.1%) met lifetime criteria for at least one DSM-IV mental disorder, which included major depressive disorder, specific phobia, oppositional defiant disorder, substance abuse, intermittent explosive disorder and conduct disorder. Most disorders significantly predicted suicidal behaviors, and the prevalence of mental disorders generally increased with the increasing severity of suicidal behaviors.

From this study, we can see that it is important to identify and provide early treatment for these troubled youths. Unlike physical illnesses, parents tend to ignore mental health issues and to believe that such problems will go away by themselves. Otherwise, they may feel that seeking help from a mental health professional is too stigmatising and may do more harm to their children.

Such ignorance, often lead to delay in seeking treatment and may result in the youths and parents defaulting follow-ups. Today, suicidal behaviors are among the leading causes of death in Singapore and worldwide, especially among adolescents and young adults. Seek help early and contact a psychiatric clinic in Singapore.

(1) Prevalence, Correlates, and Treatment of Lifetime Suicidal Behavior Among Adolescents Results From the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement  
Matthew K. Nock, PhD; Jennifer Greif Green, PhD; Irving Hwang, MA; Katie A. McLaughlin, PhD; Nancy A. Sampson, BA; Alan M. Zaslavsky, PhD; Ronald C. Kessler, PhD
JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;():1-11. doi:10.1001/2013.jamapsychiatry.55