Nationwide general population study establishes the prevalence of suicide attempts in different mental disorders among young adults and their sociodemographic correlates. Current psychiatric symptoms are also examined.
A random sample of 1,894 young Finnish adults aged 20-34 years were approached to participate in a questionnaire containing several screens for mental health interviews. All screen positives and random sample of screen negatives were invited to an SCID interview. Altogether 546 subjects participated in the interview. Diagnostic assessment and lifetime history of suicide attempts were based on all available systematically evaluated information from the questionnaire, the interview and/or case records.
The lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts was 5.6% in men and 6.9% in women. Both mental disorders and poor educational and occupational functioning were associated with lifetime suicide attempts. Lifetime history of suicide attempts was associated with current psychological distress, problems related to substance use and other psychiatric symptoms, even after taking current Axis I disorder into account. Suicide attempts were most common in persons with psychotic disorders (41%).
These results suggest that continued efforts are needed to outreach and treat effectively young adults with serious mental disorders. Young people who make a suicide attempt should be offered treatment. It seems also important to prevent psychosocial alienation of young people by providing them with adequate education and work possibilities.