Centre for Youth Mental Health - Research Publications
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Patterns of self-harm methods over time and the association with methods used at repeat episodes of non-fatal self-harm and suicide: A systematic review
BACKGROUND: The risk of self-harm repetition and suicide may be influenced by self-harm method choice. However, there are mixed findings regarding whether there is a discernible pattern in self-harm methods over successive episodes of non-fatal self-harm, and if so, how these may be associated with self-harm repetition and/or suicide. METHODS: A systematic review of five electronic databases was undertaken until 31 May 2018 to identify cohort studies on patterns of self-harm methods and their association with methods used either at repeat self-harm episodes and/or suicide. RESULTS: 15 studies were included reporting data on of 127,371 participants. Over an average follow-up period of 2.8 years, one-third (33.3%) switched methods between episodes of self-harm, most commonly from self-injury to self-poisoning. For suicide, almost one-half (42.1%) switched methods over an average follow-up period of 11.2 years. LIMITATIONS: Studies were characterised by a moderate study quality. Studies tended to group all methods into self-injury and/or self-poisoning with little consideration as to the diverse range of self-harm methods included within these broad categories and the likely differences in potential lethality between these methods. Few investigated the role of alcohol and/or drug dependence and mental illness on self-harm method choice. CONCLUSIONS: Given the frequency of method switching observed, and the lack of discernible patterns over time, all patients should be routinely assessed for risk and needs irrespective of the method used at the index episode of non-fatal self-harm.
Suicide and Personality Traits: A Multicenter Study of Austrian and Italian Psychiatric Patients and Students
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this multicenter study was to investigate the differences in personality traits, particularly Neuroticism, in three clinical samples and three student samples in Austria and Italy and their impact on suicide. METHODS: In total, 1,043 people (410 psychiatric inpatients and 633 university students) were tested in three regions of Europe: central Italy, northeast Italy, and eastern Austria. Psychiatric diagnoses were evaluated using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview, and the following instruments were used: Sociodemographic Questionnaire, Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale-B, Symptom-Checklist-90-Standard, and Big Five Inventory. RESULTS: The study found that the intensity of Suicidal Ideation was associated with the personality traits of Neuroticism, Anxiety, and Extraversion but also with Depression. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, without the presence of Depression symptoms, neuroticism was a protective factor against Suicidal Ideation, whereas neuroticism when comorbid with Depression symptoms increased suicide risk in psychiatric patients. In all three regions, the clinical samples had higher scores for Neuroticism and for Depression symptoms than the student sample and consequently higher scores for Suicide. Furthermore, we demonstrated an interaction between gender and culture on personality traits, supporting the hypothesis that the distribution of self-reported personality traits is organized geographically.
Influence of Spiritual Dimensions on Suicide Risk: The Role of Regional Differences
(ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019-07-25)
The field of suicide prevention has been enriched by research on the association between spirituality and suicide. Many authors have suggested focusing on the various dimensions of religiosity in order to better understand the association between religion and suicidal risk, but it is unclear whether the relationship between spirituality and suicidality differs between countries with different cultures, life values, and sociohistorical experiences. To explore this, the aim of this multicenter study was to investigate the possible relationship between suicide and spirituality in Italy and Austria. In the two countries, two different groups of subjects participated: psychiatric patients and university students. The patients were evaluated with the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview. In addition, the following measures were used: a sociodemographic questionnaire, the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale-B, the Symptom-Checklist-90-Standard, and the Multidimensional Inventory for Religious/Spiritual Well-Being. Our results confirmed the multifactorial nature of the relation between suicide risk and the various religious/spiritual dimensions, including religious/spiritual well-being and hope immanent. However, regional differences moderated this relationship in both the clinical and nonclinical samples.
The Portrayal of Suicidal Behavior in Police Television Series
(ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019-04-25)
Fictional suicidal behavior can affect the public as a risk or a protective factor, and it may reflect how suicide is perceived in a society. However, surprisingly little is known of how suicidal behavior is portrayed in television series. The aim of this study was to investigate the characteristics of televised fatal and non-fatal suicidal behavior, preventative interventions, and the portrayal of people bereaved by suicide. All episodes (N = 475) of four Belgian police series were screened against inclusion and exclusion criteria, and 87 episodes with a total of 54 suicides, 13 attempted suicides, 13 suicide threats, and 20 characters bereaved by suicide were included in a quantitative and qualitative analysis. Televised suicidal behavior was primarily motivated by external motives, such as social/relational issues or the death of a significant other, and to a lesser extent, by internal motives, such as mental or physical health related issues. Interventions were likely to prevent suicide. People bereaved by suicide were mostly portrayed as individuals seeking justice. Shame, revenge, and escape were the major qualitative themes associated with suicidal behavior. Two prototypes emerged: a ruthless, "psychopath" type criminal, who kills him/herself before being arrested, and a suicidal individual struggling with devastating life events. The study provided unique insights in how suicidal behavior is televised in Belgian police series. Though some characteristics were portrayed adequately, mental health related issues were overlooked, spectacular suicide methods were overrepresented, and the bereaved characters were mostly unidimensional revengers. Strategies for improving the accuracy of televised suicidal behavior should be studied.
Ethical Concerns in Suicide Research: Results of an International Researcher Survey
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2019-07-10)
Researchers and research ethics committees share a common goal of conducting ethically sound research. However, little is known of researchers' experiences in obtaining ethics approval for suicide-related studies. This study aimed to investigate what concerns researchers have received on suicide-related ethics applications and how they dealt with it. Thirty-four respondents, recruited through the International Association for Suicide Prevention, filled out an online survey. The study found that researchers have received important concerns regarding potential harm and researchers' responsibilities to participants. Researchers modified their application and/or consulted their research ethics committee in response to the concerns, which had a positive/neutral impact on their given study. Anticipating concerns and improved collaboration between researchers and research ethics committees should protect the quality of suicide prevention research.
Teaching mental health first aid in the school setting: a novel approach to improving outcomes for common adolescent mental disorders
(LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2018-08-01)
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Common adolescent mental disorders, such as depression, often go untreated and severely impact health and educational outcomes. The purpose of this review is to describe what is currently known about school-based mental health interventions and to describe a new intervention, Mental Health First Aid training. RECENT FINDINGS: Universal and selective prevention and treatment programmes have been widely evaluated, though population-level dissemination remains elusive. A novel approach is to train adolescents in how to recognise early signs of mental disorder onset, decrease stigmatising beliefs and barriers to help-seeking, and to use appropriate first aid strategies for assisting peers in mental health crisis, such as those with depression and suicidal ideation. SUMMARY: Teaching adolescents the skills necessary to recognise and respond to mental health problems and mental health crises may provide life-long skills that prompt lower stigmatising beliefs, greater support of peers and appropriate, timely help-seeking.
Can antipsychotic dose reduction lead to better functional recovery in first-episode psychosis? A randomized controlled-trial of antipsychotic dose reduction. The reduce trial: Study protocol
Antipsychotic medication has been the mainstay of treatment for psychotic illnesses for over 60 years. This has been associated with improvements in positive psychotic symptoms and a reduction in relapse rates. However, there has been little improvement in functional outcomes for people with psychosis. At the same time there is increasing evidence that medications contribute to life shortening metabolic and cardiovascular illnesses. There is also uncertainty as to the role played by antipsychotic medication in brain volume changes. AIM: The primary aim of the study is, in a population of young people with first-episode psychosis, to compare functional outcomes between an antipsychotic dose reduction strategy with evidence-based intensive recovery treatment (EBIRT) group (DRS+) and an antipsychotic maintenance treatment with EBIRT group (AMTx+) at 24-months follow-up. METHODS: Our single-blind randomized controlled trial, within a specialist early psychosis treatment setting, will test the whether the DRS+ group leads to better vocational and social recovery than, the AMTx+ group over a 2-year period in 180 remitted first-episode psychosis patients. Additionally, we will examine the effect of DRS+ vs AMTx+ on physical health, brain volume and cognitive functioning. This study will also determine whether the group receiving DRS+ will be no worse off in terms of psychotic relapses over 2 years follow-up. RESULTS: This paper presents the protocol, rationale and hypotheses for this study which commenced recruitment in July 2017. CONCLUSION: This study will provide evidence as to whether an antipsychotic dose-reduction recovery treatment leads to improved functioning and safer outcomes in first-episode psychosis patients. In addition, it will be the first-controlled experiment of the effect of exposure to antipsychotic maintenance treatment on brain volume changes in this population.
Socioeconomic Disadvantage, Mental Health and Substance Use in Young Men in Emerging Adulthood
(ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019-06-22)
Emerging adulthood is a neglected phase of the life course in health research. Health problems and risk behaviors at this time of life can have long-term consequences for health. The 2016 Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing reported that the influence of socioeconomic factors was under-researched among adolescents and young adults. Moreover, the influence of socioeconomic factors on health has been little researched specifically in emerging adult men. We aimed to investigate associations between socioeconomic disadvantage and mental health, suicidal behavior, and substance use in young adult Australian men. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between Year 12 (high school) completion and area disadvantage on mental health, suicidal behavior, and substance use in 2,281 young men age 18-25 participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health (Ten to Men). In unadjusted analysis both Year 12 non-completion and area disadvantage were associated with multiple adverse outcomes. In adjusted analysis Year 12 non-completion, but not area disadvantage, was associated with poorer mental health, increased odds of suicidal behavior, and substance use. Retaining young men in high school and developing health-promotion strategies targeted at those who do exit education early could both improve young men's mental health and reduce suicidal behavior and substance use in emerging adulthood.
Mental Health First Aid guidelines for helping a suicidal person: a Delphi consensus study in India
BACKGROUND: This study aimed to develop guidelines for how a member of the Indian public should provide mental health first aid to a person who is suicidal. METHODS: The guidelines were produced by developing a questionnaire containing possible first aid actions and asking an expert panel of Indian mental health clinicians to rate whether each action should be included in the guidelines. The content of the questionnaire was based on a systematic search of the relevant evidence and claims made by authors of consumer and career guides and websites. Experts were recruited by SC, EC and HM. The panel members were asked to complete the questionnaire by web survey. Three rounds of the rating were carried and, at the end of each round, items that reached the consensus criterion were selected for inclusion in the guidelines. During the first round, panel members were also asked to suggest any additional actions that were not covered in the original questionnaire (to include items that are relevant to local cultural circumstances, values, and social norms.). Responses to the open-ended questions were used to generate new items. RESULTS: The output from the Delphi process was a set of agreed upon action statements. The Delphi process started with 138 statements, 30 new items were written based on suggestions from panel members and, of these 168 items, 71 met the consensus criterion. These statements were used to develop the guidelines appended to this paper. Translated versions of the guidelines will be produced and used for training. CONCLUSIONS: There are a number of actions that are considered to be useful for members of the public when they encounter someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts or engaging in suicidal behaviour. Although the guidelines are designed for members of the public, they may also be helpful to non-mental health professionals working in health and welfare settings.
Mental Health First Aid guidelines for helping a suicidal person: a Delphi consensus study in the Philippines
BACKGROUND: This study aimed to develop guidelines for how a member of the Japanese public should provide mental health first aid to a person who is suicidal. METHODS: The guidelines were produced by developing a questionnaire containing possible first aid actions and asking an expert panel of 32 Japanese mental health professionals to rate whether each action should be included in the guidelines. The content of the questionnaire was based on a systematic search of the relevant evidence and claims made by authors of consumer and carer guides and websites. The panel members were asked to complete the questionnaire by web survey. Three rounds of the rating were carried and, at the end of each round, items that reached the consensus criterion were selected for inclusion in the guidelines. During the first round, panel members were also asked to suggest any additional actions that were not covered in the original questionnaire (to include items that are relevant to local cultural circumstances, values, and social norms). Responses to these open-ended questions were used to generate new items. RESULTS: The output from the Delphi process was a set of agreed upon action statements. The Delphi process started with 138 statements, 38 new items were written based on suggestions from panel members and, of these 176 items, 56 met the consensus criterion. These statements were used to develop the guidelines appended to this article. CONCLUSIONS: There are a number of actions that are considered to be useful for members of the Japanese public when they encounter someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts or engaging in suicidal behaviour. Although the guidelines are designed for members of the public, they may also be helpful to health professionals working in health and welfare settings who do not have clinical mental health training.
Design and Development of the Brain Training System for the Digital "Maintain Your Brain" Dementia Prevention Trial.
ABSTRACT Background: Dementia is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and interventions aimed at reducing the prevalence and burden of the disease are urgently needed. Maintain Your Brain (MYB) is a randomized controlled trial of a multimodal digital health intervention targeting modifiable dementia risk factors to combat cognitive decline and potentially prevent dementia. In addition to behavioral modules targeting mood, nutrition, and physical exercise, a new Brain Training System (BTS) will deliver computerized cognitive training (CCT) throughout the trial to provide systematic, challenging, and personally adaptive cognitive activity. Objective: This paper aimed to describe the design and development of BTS. Methods: BTS has been designed with a central focus on the end user. Raw training content is provided by our partner NeuroNation and delivered in several innovative ways. A baseline cognitive profile directs selection and sequencing of exercises within and between sessions and is updated during the 10-week 30-session module. Online trainers are available to provide supervision at different levels of engagement, including face-to-face share-screen coaching, a key implementation resource that is triaged by a “red flag” system for automatic tracking of user adherence and engagement, or through user-initiated help requests. Individualized and comparative feedback is provided to aid motivation and, for the first time, establish a social support network for the user based on their real-world circle of friends and family. Results: The MYB pilot was performed from November 2017 to March 2018. We are currently analyzing data from this pilot trial (n=100), which will make up a separate research paper. The main trial was launched in June 2018. Process and implementation data from the first training module (September to November 2018) are expected to be reported in 2019 and final trial outcomes are anticipated in 2022. Conclusions: The BTS implemented in MYB is focused on maximizing adherence and engagement with CCT over the short and long term in the setting of a fully digital trial, which, if successful, could be delivered economically at scale. Trial Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12618000851268; https://www.anzctr.org.au /Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=370631&isReview=true