Mental health difficulties and suicidal behaviours among young migrants: Multicentre study of European adolescents

Elaine M. McMahon*, Paul Corcoran, Helen Keeley, Mary Cannon, Vladimir Carli, Camilla Wasserman, Marco Sarchiapone, Alan Apter, Judit Balazs, Raphaela Banzer, Julio Bobes, Romuald Brunner, Doina Cozman, Christian Haring, Michael Kaess, Jean Pierre Kahn, Agnes Kereszteny, Ursa Mars Bitenc, Vita Poštuvan, Bogdan NemesPilar A. Sáiz, Merike Sisask, Alexandra Tubiana, Peeter Värnik, Christina W. Hoven, Danuta Wasserman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Migration has been reported to be associated with higher prevalence of mental disorders and suicidal behaviour. Aims: To examine the prevalence of emotional and behavioural difficulties, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among migrant adolescents and their non-migrant peers. Method: A school-based survey was completed by 11 057 European adolescents as part of the Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe (SEYLE) study. Results: A previous suicide attempt was reported by 386 (3.6%) adolescents. Compared with non-migrants, first-generation migrants had an elevated prevalence of suicide attempts (odds ratio (OR) 2.08; 95% CI 1.32-3.26; P=0.001 for European migrants and OR 1.86; 95% CI 1.06-3.27; P=0.031 for non-European migrants) and significantly higher levels of peer difficulties. Highest levels of conduct and hyperactivity problems were found among migrants of non-European origin. Conclusions: Appropriate mental health services and school-based supports are required to meet the complex needs of migrant adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-299
Number of pages9
JournalBJPsych Open
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017


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