Year: 2022 Source: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (2022). SIEC No: 20221045
Parental bereavement is associated with distress and poorer long-term outcomes among adolescents. Adolescents who lose a parent to suicide fare worse than their peers even before bereavement. Based on the current literature, we cannot distinguish such initial differences from the medium and long-term effect of parental suicide. We study the impact of parental suicide on adolescents’ General Practitioner visits for mental health or psychosocial reasons. Within-individual models account for time-invariant differences between the bereaved and non-bereaved. We investigate if effects differ from the impact of parental death from other causes, and vary with sex and socioeconomic background. Full population data on Norwegian residents aged 10–19 in the period 2006–2015 are drawn from registers (N = 1 405 suicide bereaved, 12 982 bereaved by other causes, and 1 182 819 non-bereaved controls). Records include data on use of health services, parental mortality, and sociodemographic characteristics of parent and child. Mental health consultations increase gradually in the quarters leading up to the parental suicide, significantly more for girls than for boys. Two years prior to bereavement, 2.4% of the subsequently suicide bereaved have a mental health consultation in any given quarter. In the year of bereavement, this increases with 6% points. Health care workers should be aware that boys are less likely to turn to their GP for support before parental bereavement from suicide.