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Suicide and accidental deaths in children and adolescents in England and Wales, 2001–2010
  1. Kirsten Windfuhr,
  2. David While,
  3. Isabelle M Hunt,
  4. Jenny Shaw,
  5. Louis Appleby,
  6. Nav Kapur
  1. National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, Centre for Suicide Prevention, Centre for Mental Health and Risk, Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kirsten Windfuhr, National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, Centre for Suicide Prevention, Centre for Mental Health and Risk, Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, Jean McFarlane Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; kirsten.windfuhr{at}manchester.ac.uk

Abstract

Objectives To investigate the impact of narrative verdicts on suicide statistics among 10–19-year-olds; to identify the number and rate of suicide and accidental deaths, particularly in 10–14-year-olds.

Design National cohort study.

Setting England and Wales.

Methods Mid-year population estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) were used to calculate rates per 100 000 population for suicide (undetermined and suicide verdicts) and accidental deaths (poisoning, hanging) for those aged 10–14 and 15–19. Trends in rates over time (2001–2010) were investigated using Poisson regression. Interaction tests were carried out to determine differences in trends between the two time periods (2001–2005 and 2006–2010).

Results There were 1523 suicides (2.25/100 000). Suicide rates were highest in those aged 15–19 years (4.04/100 000) and in males (3.14/100 000). Between 2001 and 2010, rates significantly decreased among those aged 15–19 years (incidence rate-ratio (IRR): 0.95; 95% CI 0.93 to 0.97), with no change in rates of accidental deaths (IRR: 1.01, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.07). However, there was a significant interaction between the two time periods for accidental poisonings (2001–2005: IRR: 0.79 (95% CI 0.69 to 0.91); 2006–2010: IRR: 1.01 (95% CI 0.89 to 1.15), interaction p=0.012) and accidental hangings (2001–2005: IRR: 0.93 (95% CI 0.76 to 1.14); 2006–2010: IRR: 1.25 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.49), interaction=0.01) Undetermined deaths significantly decreased among females aged 15–19 yeras (IRR: 0.93; 95% CI 0.88 to 0.98). There were no significant trends among 10–14-year-olds.

Conclusions Rates of suicide are higher among older adolescents and males. There was a significant fall in suicide rates in males aged 15–19 years that was not accounted for by changes in rates of accidental death. The absence of a significant trend in suicide or accidental deaths in those aged 10–14 years may have been the result of small numbers. However, monitoring should continue to identify longitudinal trends in all young people.

  • Epidemiology
  • Adolescent Health

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