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Swiss Med Wkly. 2005 Jul 23;135(29-30):440-7.

Antecedents, psychiatric characteristics and follow-up of adolescents hospitalized for suicide attempt of overwhelming suicidal ideation.

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Institut Universitaire de médicine social et préventive, groupe de recherche sur la santé des adolescents (IUMSP/GRSA), Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland.



To evaluate the socio-demographic as well as the health and psychiatric profiles of adolescents hospitalised for suicide attempt or overwhelming suicide ideation and to assess repetition of suicide attempt over a period of 18 months.


Between April 2000 and September 2001, all patients aged 16 to 21 years admitted to the University Hospitals of Geneva and Lausanne for suicide attempt or ideation were included in the study. At this time (T0) semi-structured face to face interviews were conducted to identify socio-demographic data, mental health and antecedents regarding suicidal conducts. Current psychiatric status was assessed with the MINI (Mini International Neuropsychiatric Instrument). At T1 and T2, reassessments included psychiatric status (MINI) as well as lifestyles, socio-professional situation and suicidal behaviours.


At T0, 269 subjects met the study criteria, among whom 83 subjects (56 girls and 27 boys) left the hospital too quickly to be involved or refused to participate in the study (final sample at T0: 149 girls; 37 boys). The participation rate at T1 and T2 was respectively 66% and 62% of the original sample. The percentage of adolescents meeting the criteria for psychiatric diagnoses (91%) was high: affective disorder (78%); anxiety disorder (64%); substance use disorder (39%); eating disorder (9%); psychotic disorder (11%); antisocial personality (7%) with most subjects (85%) having more than one disorder. Around 90% of the subjects interviewed at T1, and/or T2, had received follow-up care after their hospitalisation, either by a primary care physician or a psychotherapist or both. Two subjects died of violent death and 18% made a further suicide attempt.


Most adolescents hospitalised for suicidal episodes suffer from psychiatric problems which should be addressed by a careful psychiatric assessment, followed up if needed by a structured after care plan.

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