Suicide risk in youth and young adults with Type 1 Diabetes: A review of the literature and clinical recommendations for prevention
Hill, R.M., Gallagher, K.A.S., Estehardi, S.S., Uysal, S., & Hilliard, M.E.
Purpose of review: The manuscript reviews the extant literature on suicide-related thoughts and behaviors among youth and young adults with pediatric diabetes. This evidence is presented within the context of current theories of the etiology of suicidal behavior to highlight how diabetes may contribute to suicide risk, and to support providers in understanding the interplay between pediatric diabetes and suicide risk. The manuscript also reviews evidence-based approaches to suicide prevention suitable for use in pediatric healthcare settings, with suggestions for their application to this unique population.
Recent findings: Several recent studies identify heightened rates of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide among youth and young adults with pediatric diabetes, as compared with their peers without diabetes. Evidence-based suicide prevention approaches frequently emphasize the importance of reducing suicidal youths’ access to potentially lethal means for suicidal behavior. This approach may require special considerations for youth with pediatric diabetes, due to their need to carry sufficient quantities of insulin and the dangers of inaccurate insulin dosing and/or overdose. Suggestions for suicide prevention for this population include risk screening as part of routine diabetes care, early prevention, education for youth and families, and provider awareness of risk factors, warning signs, and implications for diabetes care. Youth and young adults with diabetes reported elevated rates of suicide-related behaviors as compared with their peers without diabetes. Existing suicide prevention approaches may require substantial adaptation for use with youth and young adults with diabetes. Further research is needed to examine how to best prevent suicidal behaviors among this population.