Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Children and adolescents who present to hospital following self-harm have an increased future risk of suicide compared with other children and adolescents, which may persist for several years, according to an observational study of more than 9,000 children and adolescents aged 10-18 years who presented to five English hospitals for non-fatal self-harm.

Self-harm is the most important risk factor for subsequent suicide in young people. In the UK, suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged 15–24 years, and general population rates of suicide have increased among people aged 10–19 years since 2010.

This new study, Mortality in children and adolescents following presentation to hospital after non-fatal self-harm in the Multicentre Study of Self-harm: a prospective observational cohort study, is published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal. Spanning 16 years the study looked at the future risk and cause of death in 9,173 children and adolescents who presented for self-harm, of which 55 (0.6 percent) died by suicide.

While suicide was uncommon, the findings suggest that the annual rate of suicide in the patients who self-harmed was more than 30 times that expected in other young people in the general population. The increased risk remained at a similar level over more than 10 years of follow up.

 

Our findings emphasise a need to identify strategies to try to prevent self-harm in children and adolescents in order to reduce future risk of suicide. They also underline the importance of provision of good care for children and adolescents who present to hospital following self-harm. - Professor Keith Hawton, Director of the Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford

 

The study included patients from five hospitals (one in Oxford, three in Manchester and one in Derby). The authors note that since most young people who self-harm do not attend a hospital, these findings only relate to those adolescents who do, there tends to be large differences in the patterns of self-harm between the two groups.

To read the study.

NIHR OXFORD HEALTH BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CENTRE NEWS

Please follow the link below to read the news on the NIHR BRC website.

Similar stories

Children’s Mental Health Worse in the New Lockdown

Anxiety COVID-19 Child and adolescent Early intervention Mental Health Psychological therapy

The proportion of secondary school aged girls with emotional problems in January 2021 was at the highest level reported since March 2020, highlights latest report from the Co-SPACE study. It also shows parent and carer reported behavioural, emotional, and restless/attentional difficulties in their offspring have increased again since the latest national lockdown was introduced.

Parental Mental Health Worse Since New National Restrictions

COVID-19 Child and adolescent Early intervention Mental Health Psychological therapy

Parental stress, depression, and anxiety have again increased since new national restrictions have been introduced according to the latest report from the Oxford University led COVID-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents, and Children in Epidemics (Co-SPACE) study based on data from over 6000 UK parents.

Return to School Leads to Improvement in Children's Mental Health

Anxiety COVID-19 Child and adolescent Early intervention Mental Health

Latest report from the Co-SPACE (COVID-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents, and Children in Epidemics) survey highlights that for participating primary school aged children behavioural and restless/attentional difficulties increased between March and June. These difficulties generally decreased from July.

New Research to Tackle COVID-19 Impact on Mental Health Received £2m Boost

COVID-19 Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Child and adolescent Early intervention Mental Health Psychological therapy

Professor Cathy Creswell, based in the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry has been awarded £495k for research to evaluate an online therapy programme for children with anxiety problems, to see if it is an effective remote alternative to existing mental health treatment services and could help treat anxiety problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Children from Low Income Households Show elevated Mental Health Difficulties in Lockdown

Anxiety COVID-19 Child and adolescent Early intervention Mental Health Psychological therapy

Emotional and restless/attention difficulties and behaviour difficulties for primary school aged children were consistently elevated among children and young people from low income households over a month of lockdown, according to the most recent report from the Co-SPACE study.

More than Half of Year 12 Students Report Feeling Worse since Lockdown

Anxiety COVID-19 Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Early intervention Mental Health

School-based survey examines over 200 key factors in the lives and expectations of young people, aged 8-18 years, helping to shed light on mental health during lockdown.