CNWL comment on Report about Young People and suicide
27 May 2016
The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness is the UK’s leading research programme in this field, and produces national reports that provide health professionals, policymakers, and service managers with the evidence and practical suggestions they need to effectively implement change.
“We collected data from a range of investigations by official bodies in England… and identified relevant antecedents prior to suicide. There were 145 suicides and probable suicides by young people in England in the study period. The suicide rate at this age is low but escalates in the late teens. Our findings suggest that numerous experiences and stresses are likely to have contributed to suicide risk in children and young people. Many young people who die by suicide have not expressed recent suicidal ideas, but their absence cannot be assumed to show lack of risk. Improved services for self-harm and access to CAMHS is crucial, but the antecedents identified in this study show that schools, primary care, social services and youth justice also have an important role to play.
Dr Navin Chandra, CNWL Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in Hillingdon, said:
“Death by suicide in teenagers is a leading cause of mortality. As this study has shown, there are several risk factors that are known to occur including substance misuse, social isolation, self-harm and family problems. The study highlights two very important contributory factors that are underestimated, these are academic pressures and bullying.
On a positive note, schools are increasingly becoming aware of self-harm as a risk factor and young people are being referred to CAMH services. This is also reflected in an increase in the number of children being sent to A&E following self-harm from schools.
The study also highlights the importance of all services involved with young people working in a co-ordinated manner and sharing information to ensure that the youngsters are protected adequately; as well as the importance of looking at ways to increase support to young people before exams and ways to increase resilience.
A concern is that 43% of the young people had not been in contact with any service. We need to investigate this further to ensure these youngsters are offered help in timely manner to minimise these tragic events.