MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Annie Herbert, PhD
Department of Behavioural Science and Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare
University College London
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: 1 in 25 adolescents (i.e. one in every classroom) will be admitted to hospital as an emergency with injuries related self-harm, drug or alcohol misuse, or violence. Currently, the guidelines for how these adolescents are managed differ greatly depending on the type of injury they come in with (whether through self-harm, drug or alcohol misuse, or violence).
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: In our study, we found that adolescents admitted with any of these injuries were at an increased risk of suicide and of drug or alcohol related death in the ten years after leaving hospital, compared to other admitted adolescents.While the overall risk is relatively low—for example, 2–3 girls out of 1000 and 7 boys out of 1000 who are admitted as an emergency to hospital with drug or alcohol related injuries die from suicide within 10 years—the rates are 5–6 times higher than among adolescents admitted to hospital following an accident.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Guidelines should be developed to acknowledge the increased risk after any injuries related to self-harm, drug or alcohol misuse, or violence. For example, currently there are no national guidelines for how to manage patients admitted with violent injury. These adolescents need to receive a mental health assessment before they leave hospital, as they may be at increased risk of further harm, later. Our study also shows that risks of drug or alcohol related deaths in this group are just as high as those of suicide.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: There is a need for more research into interventions that we could deliver to these adolescents in hospital, that may reduce risks of further harm after they leave.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Our study also shows the value of being allowed to use routine country-wide administrative data for research – without being able to analyse data on all adolescent admissions in England since 1997 (as we did), it is unlikely that we would have been able to come to as definitive conclusions about risks of suicide and of drug or alcohol related deaths, deaths that are generally rare events.
This study was funded by the UK Department of Health, but they had no role in the design or running of the study, or interpretation of results.
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Causes of death up to 10 years after admissions to hospitals for self-inflicted, drug-related or alcohol-related, or violent injury during adolescence: a retrospective, nationwide, cohort study
Herbert, Annie et al.
The Lancet , Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,
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