Incidence, clinical management, mortality risk following self harm among children and adolescents: Cohort study in primary care
Morgan, C., Webb, R.T., Carr, M.J., Kontopantelis, E., Green, J., Chew-Graham, C.A., ... Ashcroft, D.M.
Objectives To examine temporal trends in sex and age specific incidence of self harm in children and adolescents, clinical management patterns, and risk of cause specific mortality following an index self harm episode at a young age.
Main outcome measures In the first phase, temporal trends in sex and age specific annual incidence were examined. In the second phase, clinical management was assessed according to the likelihood of referral to mental health services and psychotropic drug prescribing. In the third phase, relative risks of all cause mortality, unnatural death (including suicide and accidental death), and fatal acute alcohol or drug poisoning were estimated as hazard ratios derived from stratified Cox proportional hazards models for the self harm cohort versus the matched unaffected comparison cohort.
Conclusions Gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the recent apparent increase in the incidence of self harm among early-mid teenage girls, and coordinated initiatives to tackle health inequalities in the provision of services to distressed children and adolescents, represent urgent priorities for multiple public agencies.