Alcohol pushes up suicide rates in teenagers

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From the Irish Independent

SUICIDE is expected to remain the leading cause of death of teenagers over the next decade — especially when alcohol is involved, a new study reveals.

The first analysis of the suicide rates of those under the age of 18 reveals that the number among 15- to 17-year-olds has increased substantially.

The rate for young girls has more than doubled, from 2.5 suicides per 100,000 population to 5.1. For young boys, it has gone up from 9.3 per 100,000 population to 13.5.

The study, published in the ‘Irish Medical Journal’, also found that when alcohol abuse is a factor, the rate among girls aged 15 to 17 is expected to increase five-fold by 2014 from 1993, when there were 2.5 suicides per 100,000 population.


“Alcohol is long recognised as a significant risk factor for suicide, being linked with depression and impulsivity, particularly in males,” according to the research team from St Vincent’s University Hospital and the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science in UCD.

“Given the known high rates of alcohol misuse among Irish adolescents, this, coupled with increased rates of deliberate self-harm (DSH), places both young Irish males and females at continuing increased risk for completed suicide.”

The study’s author, Professor Kevin Malone, urged the Government to review its education and intervention strategies, with an emphasis on “intensified prevention efforts” to be made “earlier in Irish life than was conceived heretofore”.