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The Risk of Suicide and Self-Harm in Adolescents Is Influenced by the “Type” of Mood Disorder

Parker, Gordon, MD, PhD, DSc, FRANZCP*†; Ricciardi, Tahlia, BPsych, MClinPsych*†

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: January 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 1 - p 1–5
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000917
Original Articles
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We sought to examine the extent to which suicidal ideation and self-harm are associated with a set of psychiatric conditions in senior high school students. A total of 1577 students completed an anonymous survey assessing lifetime rates of mood, anxiety, and eating disorders; the extent to which the presence of any depressive condition attracted bullying; help-seeking strategies; as well as rates of self-harm and suicidal ideation and plans over differing periods. Suicidal ideation and plans together with self-harm rates were distinctly higher in those with a melancholic depressive or a bipolar disorder (compared with those with nonmelancholic depression or an anxiety or eating disorder) and generally higher in females, whereas numbers of those with such conditions attending a mental health professional were low. Thus, for those with a mood disorder, the type of the condition appears to have a distinct impact on the likelihood of suicide and self-harm.

*School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Prince of Wales Hospital; and

Black Dog Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia.

Send reprint requests to Gordon Parker, MD, PhD, DSc, FRANZCP, Black Dog Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hospital Road, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia. E-mail: g.parker@unsw.edu.au.

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