Hidden Danger: Most Young People Reporting Suicidal Thoughts Only Display Mild Mental Distress

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.

When it comes to mental health awareness, it might seem reasonable that a lot of attention focuses on people at high risk for suicide. Unfortunately, a recent study finds many young people who consider harming themselves are not showing signs of mental distress.

The study in the journal BMJ Open finds the majority of young people who have suicidal thoughts fall into the low to no-risk range.

“It appears that self-harm and suicidal thinking among young people dramatically increases well within the normal or non-clinical range of mental distress,” said Professor Peter Jones from Cambridge University.

In two separate studies, over 3,400 participants between ages 14 and 24 had their common mental distress (CMD) levels analyzed.

The data reveals young people experiencing severe mental distress had the highest risk of suicide. But this only makes up a small portion of the group. Researchers say 78 and 76 percent of the subjects experiencing suicidal thoughts have only mild or moderate CMD levels, respectively.

“Our findings help explain why research focusing on high-risk subjects has yet to translate into useful clinical tools for predicting suicide risk,” Jones explains. “Self-harm and suicidal thoughts merit a swift response even if they occur without further evidence of a psychiatric disorder.”

Source: Study Finds

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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