Undertreated Suicidal Thoughts in Teens

Suicidal thoughts in teens should be treated more by mental health community

(RxWiki News) Teenagers have their entire lives ahead of them. Thoughts, plans or attempts with suicide are wasted energy and deserve the attention of professional mental healthcare providers.

A recent survey asked 10,123 teenagers whether they thought about suicide or had made plans or attempts within the last year.

Study results showed that the majority of those who had—did not access mental health care.

"Reach out immediately if you’re having thoughts of suicide."

Mathilde Husky, PhD, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Bordeaux in France, led the investigation into rates of adolescent suicide.

Data for the study came from the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement, which used a computer-assisted, face-to-face interview process to assess the 10,123 teens aged 13-18 from 2001-2004.

For 12 months, surveys were used to find each of the participants’ thoughts and behaviors about suicide.

Researchers also factored into the equation visits to mental health professionals.

Results of the study found that over the course of a year, 4 percent of the group reported thinking about suicide, but without a plan to actually make an attempt.

Less than 1 percent said they had a suicide plan in the last year, but without making an attempt. A total of 2 percent did attempt suicide.

Within those groups, 67 percent of teens who had thought about suicide, 54 percent of those with a plan to commit suicide and 57 percent of those who made a suicide attempt—did not have any contact with a mental health professional within the last year.

Authors concluded, “Increased outreach efforts to improve treatment access for youths with suicidal ideation and attempts are needed.”

This study was published in October in Psychiatric Services.

No financial information was given and no conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
October 10, 2012