UNITED KINGDOM: Study Suggests Factors Linked to Teens’ Suicide Attempts

April 12, 2019

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Psychiatric News

In a UK study, most teens who experienced suicidal thoughts or self-harm at age 16 did not go on to attempt suicide by age 21. Among participants with suicidal thoughts, the strongest risk factors for future suicide attempts were nonsuicidal self-harm, cannabis use, and other illegal drug use. Among those who self-harmed, the strongest risk factors were cannabis use, other illegal drug use, and lack of sleep. The authors differentiated between commonly accepted risk factors for suicide, and risk factors for suicide attempts among those with suicidal thoughts or self-harming behavior. “It might appear surprising that we did not find evidence of an association for several well-established suicide risk factors, including depression symptoms, psychiatric disorder, suicidal plans, and impulsivity,” they wrote. “However, our results are consistent with previous research that has suggested that these factors appear to be associated with suicide attempts . . . but are not involved in the transition [from suicidal thoughts or self-harm].”

Spark Extra! Read the full study.