Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Self Harm and Suicide

Suicide and deliberate self-harm

Completed suicide is rare before puberty but its incidence increases during older adolescence. It is estimated that the figures for Britain are roughly five suicides per million children aged 10–14 years. The suicide rate in North America has been increasing during the last several decades and there is an excess of males who commit suicide at all ages. Factors seen in the background of adolescents who commit suicide include disruptive home circumstances, higher rates of psychiatric disorder in family members and previous suicidal threats in roughly half of all cases during the 24 hours prior to the suicide. High rates of psychiatric disorder are common in older adolescents who commit suicide. While hanging and carbon monoxide poisoning are common methods used by males, girls are more likely to overdose themselves. The risk of suicide is greater in adolescence. A careful assessment of risk should be undertaken in every case, taking into account family history of mood disturbance and past attempts at self-harm.

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