Suicide Risk Highest Shortly After Parental Psychiatric Event

Strongest effect sizes within two years after exposure to maternal event, particularly for girls

TUESDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Among adults and adolescents who have been hospitalized for an attempted suicide, the risk of suicide is highest within two years of a parental event (suicide attempt and suicide, inpatient care, and disability pension due to psychiatric diagnoses), especially among girls, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in PLOS ONE.

Ellenor Mittendorfer-Rutz, Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues examined the impact of parental morbidity and mortality and their timing on 15,193 people (15 to 31 years old) who had been hospitalized for a suicide attempt. Ten controls were matched to each case.

The researchers found that the strongest effect sizes to parental events were within two years after exposure, particular for women, and were related to the mother. A significantly stronger effect was noted for women with short-term exposure to maternal inpatient care due to psychiatric diagnoses. Short-term, but not long-term, effects were highest during adolescence, and for both male and female offspring, they decreased with age.

"We show that young people, particularly teenagers, need support during a period immediately following the admission of a parent into care for mental disorders or suicidal behavior if their own attempted suicide is to be prevented," Mittendorfer-Rutz said in a statement. "What's required, therefore, is effective cooperation between all actors, particularly the adult and child-and-adolescent psychiatric services."

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