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After years of improving, rates of youth suicide-related behaviors stopped declining
Date:3/7/2014

TORONTO, March 7, 2014 -- A new study from St. Michael's Hospital found that, after four years of declining, the rates of teenagers coming into Ontario emergency departments with suicide-related behaviours stopped dropping between 2006 and 2010.

Suicide-related behaviours are incidents of self-inflicted injuries or self-poisonings.

Using data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, the researchers found that from 2002 to 2006, the rates of teenagers coming into Ontario emergency departments with suicide-related behaviours declined by 30 per cent. However, from 2006 until the end of the study in 2010, rates did not continue to drop and about one-third more of these events resulted in a hospital admission, suggesting an increase in severity.

"Coming into hospital with a self-inflicted injuries or poisoning is a strong risk factor for suicide," said Dr. Anne Rhodes, lead author and research scientist in St. Michael's Hospital's Suicide Studies Research Unit. "Within a year of coming into a hospital with suicide-related behaviour, 16 per cent will repeat their behaviour and about two per cent will die by suicide."

Previous research from Dr. Rhodes has shown that more than 80 per cent of youth who die by suicide had some form of contact with the health care system in the year before their death. Compared to population-based peers, youth who have gone to an emergency department to hospital with suicide-related behaviours had three to four times higher risk of death.

The study, published today in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, outlines potential factors contributing to the declines between 2002 and 2006 including the increased efforts made by some groups to reduce stigma about mental illness and seeking help; or reductions in alcohol consumption and misuse among youth.

While unable to specifically account for the change in rates after 2006, researchers suggest that the economic rece
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Contact: Geoff Koehler
koehlerg@smh.ca
416-864-5034
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert  

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