Lightning Learning: Suicidal Risk in Kids
Between 2010-2017 there has been a 67% increase in suicides by teenagers (<19 years old).
There were 182 deaths in 2017.*
Today 25% of young people have suicidal thoughts at some point.**
Therefore, we are seeing an increase in presentations to the Emergency Department.
Suicidal thoughts may have triggers, e.g depression, low self-esteem, alcohol/drug use, future prospects. Or they may not.
Social circumstances are important. HEEADSSS is a good way to ask about this.
Persistent psychological stress can trigger a mental health crisis.
These patients ALWAYS need to be seen by the mental health team prior to discharge.***
Risk factors to consider:
Sex: Male sex (increases risk)
Age: <19 (15-19 are highest risk)
Depression (may be subtle)
Previous self harm/suicide attempts
Excess alcohol/substance use
Rational loss of thinking
Social support lacking
Organised plan (written or otherwise)
Negligent parenting, family stress
Refer to the local safeguarding team, as per your local policies.