Teenagers facing hallucinations are more prone to commit suicide


Life, Health

Study reveals that teenagers facing hallucinations, psychological distress prone to commit suicide in future.

The study was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee. (Photo: ANI)

Canberra: A recent research has found that teenagers facing hallucinations and psychological distress are the ones who are prone to commit suicide in future. The researchers from QIMR Berghofer and The University of Queensland's Centre for Clinical Research examined various risk factors that prompted children between 12 and 17-year-old, who actually put their suicidal thoughts to actions.

The research findings have been published in the international journal -- Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. Primary researcher and PhD candidate Emily Hielscher, from QIMR Berghofer's Child and Youth Mental Health Research Group, said the study gathered psychological, social, and behavioural data from more than 1,600 Australian high school students.

"Of those adolescents, 216 reported experiencing suicidal thoughts at the start of the study, and they were interviewed 12 months after that time to see who actually went on to attempt suicide," said Hielscher. "Interestingly, we found that adolescents who said they'd been diagnosed with depression and had experienced stressful life events, such as bullying, were not at significantly increased risk of suicide attempts," she said.

These findings support other studies that show such factors as depression and impulsivity are not good at predicting who will go on to transition from suicidal thoughts to attempts. Senior author and the head of QIMR Berghofer's Mental Health Program, associate professor James Scott said the study provided a valuable insight into the serious and far-reaching public health issue.

"There appears to be something about adolescents experiencing hallucinations which elevates their risk of suicide, on top of the effect of being distressed," added Scott. "Knowing a person is at risk provides the chance for early intervention and help, and the findings also highlight the need to start a conversation about mental health screening of young people and more training for GPs in identifying the risk factors."

The study looked at data collected through self-reported questionnaires conducted at 12-month intervals from 2010 to 2012. Participants were offered support and those, who were identified as being at risk of suicide, were referred to the appropriate support service. The study was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee.