Teenagers turned away by overstretched health services resort to drastic action to get help

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Funding cuts to mental health services have made thresholds for treatment so high that young people are risking their lives in desperate bids to get help, according to the Times Educational Supplement. The article goes on to say that stretched children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are driving growing numbers of pupils to make what look like suicide attempts just so they can have their mental illness treated.

A survey conducted by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner showed that, of all pupils referred to CAMHS in 2015 (the latest figures available), only 14 per cent were able to access the service immediately.

Meanwhile, 28 per cent of those referred were not allocated a service at all. In some areas, this figure was as high as 75 per cent.

Read the full article: Pupils risking their lives as mental health services collapse

Strategies to prevent death by suicide

Riblet, N.B.V. et al. The British Journal of Psychiatry | Published online: April 2017

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Background: Few randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have shown decreases in suicide.

Results: Among 8647 citations, 72 RCTs and 6 pooled analyses met inclusion criteria.

  • Three RCTs (n = 2028) found that the World Health Organization (WHO) brief intervention and contact (BIC) was associated with significantly lower odds of suicide (OR = 0.20, 95% CI 0.09–0.42).
  • Six RCTs (n = 1040) of cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) for suicide prevention
  • Six RCTs of lithium (n = 619) yielded non-significant findings (OR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.12–1.03 and OR = 0.23, 95% CI 0.05–1.02, respectively).

Conclusions: The WHO BIC is a promising suicide prevention strategy. No other intervention showed a statistically significant effect in reducing suicide.

Read the full abstract here

Relationship Between Predictors of Incident Deliberate Self-Harm and Suicide Attempts

Huang, Y-S. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published online: 31 January 2017

Purpose: Data on the incidence of deliberate self-harm (DSH) and suicide attempts (SAs) are lacking in non-Western adolescents, and no studies have investigated differences in incident DSH and SA worldwide. This study aimed to investigate the incidence rates and relationships between predictors in DSH and SA.

Conclusions: The incidence rates of DSH and SA were similar to those reported in Western countries. The predictors of incident DSH and SA were similar but not identical. Our results highlight the risk factors which should be considered in terms of early identification and intervention among adolescents to prevent suicidality.

Read the full abstract here

Suicide prevention: third annual report

The third progress report of the suicide prevention strategy sets out what’s being done to reduce deaths by suicide in England | Department of Health

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Image source: gov.uk

The third progress report of the cross-government suicide prevention strategy details the activity that has taken place across England to reduce deaths by suicide in the year ending March 2016.

This report is being used to update the 2012 strategy in 5 main areas:

  • expanding the strategy to include self-harm prevention in its own right
  • every local area to produce a multi-agency suicide prevention plan
  • improving suicide bereavement support in order to develop support services
  • better targeting of suicide prevention and help seeking in high risk groups
  • improve data at both the national and local levels

These updates will help to meet the recommendations of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health relevant to suicide prevention: to reduce the number of suicides by 10% by the year ending March 2021 and for every local area to have a multi-agency suicide prevention plan in place by the end of 2017.

Read the full overview here

Read the full report here

Young adolescents as likely to die from suicide as traffic accidents in the US

McBride, D.L. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: 2 December 2016

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There has been an increase in the rate of suicide among U.S. middle school students based on the data from the National Vital Statistics System. From 1999 to 2014 the age-adjusted rate of suicides increased from 10.5 to 13 per 100,000. This increase was greatest among females aged 10–14. This column examines possible explanations for this increase.

Read the abstract here

Nonsuicidal Self-Injury and Suicidal Risk Among Emerging Adults

Hamza, C.A. & Willoughby, T. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published online: 30 July 2016

Purpose: Although nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) has been differentiated from suicidal behavior on the basis of nonlethal intent in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, NSSI often is associated with increased suicidal risk. However, there is a paucity of large-scale longitudinal examinations on the associations among NSSI, suicidal ideation, and suicidal attempts, particularly among community-based samples. In the present study, we examined whether NSSI in first-year university was associated with increased risk for later suicidal ideation and attempts over time among students.

Methods: Participants included 940 emerging adults (70.8% female, mean age = 19.05 years) from a mid-sized Canadian university who volunteered to participate in a longitudinal research project starting in first-year university (participants were surveyed annually over five waves).

Results: Binary logistic regression analyses revealed that the odds of experiencing suicidal ideation across times 2–5 were 2.04 times as high for emerging adults who engaged in NSSI at baseline (even after controlling for suicidal ideation and attempts at baseline) as for individuals who did not engage in NSSI. Furthermore, the odds of attempting suicide across times 2–5 were 3.46 times as high for emerging adults who engaged in NSSI at baseline (even after controlling for suicidal ideation and attempts at baseline) as for individuals who did not engage in NSSI.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that the presence of NSSI in first-year university may be an important marker of later suicidal risk, reflecting increased risk for both suicidal ideation and attempts across the university years among emerging adults.

Read the abstract here

Suicide by children and young people in England

Bereavement, bullying, exams and physical health conditions such as acne and asthma are some of the experiences linked to suicide in children and young people according to a new report by The University of Manchester’s National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH).

Researchers studied the reports from a range of investigations and inquiries on 130 people under the age of 20 in England who died by suicide between January 2014 and April 2015, extracting information about their personal circumstances that the reports highlighted. This is the first time there has been a national study of suicide in children and young people in England on this scale.

The researchers found that 28% of the young people who died had been bereaved, in 13% there had been a suicide by a family member or friend. 36% had a physical health condition such as acne or asthma, and 29% were facing exams or exam results when they died. Four died on the day of an exam, or the day after.

The full report is available to download here

An infographic summary of the report can be downloaded here