MONDAY, Nov. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Adolescents with emergency department visits for self-harm have increased rates of recurrent self-harm, mortality, and suicide, according to a study published online Nov. 4 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

William Gardner, Ph.D., from the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues used administrative data for 403,805 adolescents aged 13 to 17 years presenting to Ontario emergency departments in 2011 to 2013. A total of 5,661 adolescents with self-harm visits were propensity-matched to 10,731 adolescents who presented for reasons other than self-harm.

The researchers found that adolescents who presented with self-harm had a shorter time to a repeat emergency department or hospital admission for self-harm, more suicides, and higher overall mortality (hazard ratios, 4.84, 7.96, and 3.23, respectively). Self-harm-related emergency department visits had a positive predictive value of 0.7 percent for suicide. The mean five-year estimates of health care costs were $30,388 for adolescents with self-harm versus $19,055 for controls.

“In light of the increasing rates of self-harm emergency department visits for adolescents, further research is needed on the social determinants of self-harm and could focus on developing algorithms and interventions that can identify and help the adolescents at highest risk of recurrent self-harm,” the authors write.

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