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Can J Psychiatry. 2019 Apr;64(4):265-274. doi: 10.1177/0706743719830031.

Prevalence and Correlates of Youth Suicidal Ideation and Attempts: Evidence from the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study.

Author information

1 Offord Centre for Child Studies & Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
2 Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence & Impact (Formerly Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
3 School of Epidemiology & Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
4 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
5 Department of Sociology, King's University College at Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.
6 Children's Health Research Institute, Children's Health and Therapeutics, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.
7 The Royal's Institute of Mental Health Research, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
8 (in alphabetical order) Tracie O. Afifi (University of Manitoba), William R. Avison (Western University), Kathryn Bennett (McMaster University), Terry Bennett (McMaster University), Khrista Boylan (McMaster University), Michael H. Boyle (McMaster University), Michelle Butt (McMaster University), John Cairney (University of Toronto), Corine Carlisle (University of Toronto), Kristin Cleverley (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto), Ian Colman (University of Ottawa), Jinette Comeau (King's University College at Western University), Charles Cunningham (McMaster University), Scott Davies (University of Toronto), Claire de Oliveira (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto), Melanie Dirks (McGill University), Eric Duku (McMaster University), Laura Duncan (McMaster University), Jim Dunn (McMaster University), Mark A. Ferro (University of Waterloo), Katholiki Georgiades (McMaster University), Stelios Georgiades (McMaster University), Andrea Gonzalez (McMaster University), Geoffrey Hall (McMaster University), Joanna Henderson (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto), Magdalena Janus (McMaster University), Jennifer Jenkins (University of Toronto), Melissa Kimber (McMaster University), Ellen Lipman (McMaster University), Harriet MacMillan (McMaster University), Ian Manion (Royal's Institute of Mental Health Research), John McLennan (University of Ottawa), Amelie Petitclerc (Northwestern University), Anne Rhodes (University of Toronto), Graham Reid (Western University), Peter Rosenbaum (McMaster University), Roberto Sassi (McMaster University), Louis Schmidt (McMaster University), Cody Shepherd (Simon Fraser University), Noam Soreni (McMaster University), Peter Szatmari (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto), Brian Timmons (McMaster University), Juliana Tobon (McMaster University), Ryan Van Lieshout (McMaster University), Charlotte Waddell (Simon Fraser University), Li Wang (McMaster University), Christine Wekerle (McMaster University).



To present the 12-month prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation and attempts in a sample of youth in Ontario.


Data come from the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study, a provincially representative survey of families with children in Ontario. Youth aged 14 to 17 y ( n = 2,396) completed a computer-assisted, self-administered questionnaire in their home to assess the occurrence of suicidal ideation, suicidal attempts, and associated correlates, including non-suicidal self-injury, mental disorders, substance use, peer victimization and exposure to child maltreatment. Socio-demographic information was collected from the parent. Logistic regression models were used to identify correlates that distinguished between youth reporting: 1) no suicidal ideation or attempts, 2) suicidal ideation but no attempts, and 3) suicidal ideation and attempts.


The 12-month prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts was 8.1% and 4.3%, respectively. All clinical and behavioural correlates were significantly higher among youth reporting suicidal ideation or attempts, as compared with non-suicidal youth. In adjusted models, depression and non-suicidal self-injury were each independently associated with elevated odds of suicidal ideation (OR = 4.84 and 4.19, respectively) and suicidal attempt (OR = 7.84 and 22.72, respectively). Among youth who reported suicidal ideation, the only variable that differentiated youth who attempted suicide v. those who did not, in adjusted models, was non-suicidal self-injury (OR = 3.89).


Suicidal ideation and attempts are common among youth in Ontario, often co-occurring with mental disorders and high-risk behaviours. These findings underscore the need for effective prevention and intervention strategies, particularly for youth depression and non-suicidal self-injury.


correlates; ontario; suicidal attempts; suicidal ideation; youth

[Available on 2019-10-01]

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