University of Leeds experts pinpoint suicide danger among young

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New research has identified increased suicide risks among young people injured as a result of drinking, drug abuse or self-harm.

The study saw academics from the University of Leeds and University College London analysing anonymous hospital data relating to more than one million youngsters aged 10 to 19.

They were all admitted to emergency departments in England between 1997 and 2012 with injuries caused accidentally or as a result of what the researchers labelled ‘adversity’.

It was found that, in the years that followed, suicide rates among people in the adversity category were five times higher than for those in the accidental injury group.

Adversity injuries include ones caused by drink, drugs, self-harm or violence.

David Cottrell, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Leeds, said: “Clinicians have not fully appreciated the risks facing children and young people who arrive in hospital emergency departments having suffered an adversity-related injury.

“It is well established that children who self-harm are at an increased risk of suicide but the research points to the fact that the risk extends to a much broader group.”

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the Young Minds charity, said: “This groundbreaking research demonstrates some of the interconnections between self-harm, substance misuse and violent injury – and the tragic consequences that these experiences may have.

“It is essential that we don’t think of young people simply in terms of a list of ‘issues’, and that we understand how distress can be expressed in different ways at different times.”

The Yorkshire Evening Post is running a campaign called #SpeakYourMind that urges people in Leeds to combat stigma surrounding mental health.

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