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Children and Young People Attending Alder Hey A&E in Suicidal Crisis: 2019-2021

Ashworth, E, Provazza, S, McCarthy, M and Saini, P (2022) Children and Young People Attending Alder Hey A&E in Suicidal Crisis: 2019-2021. Project Report. LJMU.

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Introduction: Suicide is still the leading cause of death among children and young people (CYP) in the UK (Brahmbhatt et al., 2019; Hawton et al., 2012; Windfuhr et al., 2008), with suicide rates amongst adolescents having increased by 7-9% per year since 2010 (Bould et al., 2019). Rates have increased even further in more recent years; 2018 data on suicide deaths from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate a 22% one-year increase in suicide rates in under 25-year-olds, the largest rise amongst all age groups. The UK suicide rate in adolescent girls is now the highest since records began in 1981 (ONS, 2019; Rodway et al., 2020). Furthermore, there is some emerging evidence of a possible trend of increasing child suicide deaths in England during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns, although this is provisional and numbers are too small for any meaningful analysis (Odd et al., 2020).
Aims: This report examined Alder Hey A&E attendances for children and young people in suicidal crisis. Presentations to A&E were explored from March 2019 to March 2021 for children aged 16 and under. Crisis line data was also examined over a one-year period from April 2020 when the line was introduced to March 2021. The study aimed to evaluate: 1. Demographic data at Alder Hey’s A&E for children and young people who attend in suicidal crisis; 2. The way in which presentations of suicidal crisis are recorded at this site; 3. The clinical pathways available to young people who attend A&E in suicidal crisis and the patterns of pathway usage; 4. Use of the CAMHS crisis line, including the demographics of the users and the reasons for their calls; 5. Differences in crisis presentations at A&E and through the crisis line before and after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020
Results: A total of 240 attendances by children and young people in suicidal crisis, with twothirds of attendees being female. One in five young people attended with suicidal ideation and self-harm and just over two-thirds of attendees had a history of self-harm. Over a third of attendees had previously diagnosed mental health difficulties and one in four re-attended in the same year. One in five attendees had special educational needs (SEN) with the most common SEN diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Of those with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder who attended Alder Hey in suicidal crisis, just over one in five were female.
Conclusion: This report provides detailed information about a group that has been the focus of attention due to the increasing numbers of presentations and the public health priority given to a reduction in the national suicide rates. However, this data is entirely hospital based at one A&E and therefore cannot comment about the cases in the community, which can be twice as many compared to hospital referrals.
Recommendations: The main recommendations from this report are as followed: • Standardised protocol to track children and young people attending A&E in suicidal crisis. • Further exploration into suicidal crisis A&E attendances for children and young people with autism diagnoses.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: LJMU
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2022 14:53
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2022 14:53
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16481
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