Help-seeking behaviour following school-based screening for current suicidality among European adolescents

Pádraig Cotter, Michael Kaess, Paul Corcoran, Peter Parzer, Romuald Brunner, Helen Keeley, Vladimir Carli, Camilla Wasserman, Christina Hoven, Marco Sarchiapone, Alan Apter, Judit Balazs, Julio Bobes, Doina Cosman, Christian Haring, Jean Pierre Kahn, Franz Resch, Vita Postuvan, Airi Värnik, Danuta Wasserman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To screen and clinically interview European adolescents reporting current suicidality (suicidal ideation and suicide attempt) and investigate attendance at the clinical interview. Methods: The Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe (SEYLE) Project was carried out in 11 European countries. A baseline questionnaire was completed in school by 12,395 adolescents (mean age 14.9; SD 0.9). Those who screened positive for suicidality (attempting suicide and/or serious suicidal ideation or plans) in the past 2 weeks were invited to a clinical interview with a mental health professional. Results: Of the 12,395 adolescents, 4.2 % (n = 516) screened positive for current suicidality. The prevalence ranged from 1.1 % in Hungary to 7.7 % in Israel (p < 0.001). 37.6 % (n = 194) of those who screened positive subsequently attended the clinical interview. Female students were more likely to attend for interview (42.0 % versus 30.6 %, p = 0.010). The attendance rate varied considerably across countries, from 5.7 % in Italy to 96.7 % in France (p < 0.001). Improved attendance was associated with using school as the only interview setting (Mean attendance rate, MAR = 88 vs. 31 %, p = 0.006) and arranging the interview within 1 week of contacting the student (MAR = 64 vs. 23 %, p = 0.013). The greater the travel time to interview, the lower the attendance rate (Pearson’s r = −0.64, p = 0.034). Independent of the variation by country, at the individual level, adolescents with more depressive symptoms and a recent suicide attempt more often attended for interview. Conclusion: A high rate of current suicidality was found amongst European adolescents. However, the majority of these displayed limited help-seeking behaviour. Future studies should investigate ways of making screening programmes and other interventions more acceptable and accessible to young people, especially young males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-982
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume50
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 26 Jun 2015

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Help-seeking
  • SEYLE
  • Screening
  • Suicidality

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