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The use of distance-based interventions (DBIs) to reduce suicidal ideation and behaviours are an increasingly relevant form of intervention. DBIs are more affordable, scalable and available than traditional face-to-face interventions, helping to narrow the gap between needed and provided care.
To evaluate the overall effectiveness of DBIs against suicidal ideation and behaviours.
We systematically searched Web of Science, Scopus and PubMed for all DBIs primarily aimed at reducing suicidal ideation and behaviours. Data were analysed with a robust variance estimation corrected, multi-level meta-analysis.
We found 38 studies, reporting 110 outcomes. Effectiveness in reducing suicidal ideation was low (standardised mean difference −0.174, 95% CI −0.238 to −0.110). DBIs were significantly less effective against suicidal behaviours than against suicidal ideation, although still effective (standardised mean difference −0.059, 95% CI −0.087 to −0.032). Human involvement had no significant effect on effectiveness.
Despite low effectiveness, DBIs might play a role in large-scale prevention efforts against suicidal ideation within a stepped care approach. Further, DBIs may be helpful in expanding mental health services in low- and middle-income countries with otherwise limited access to mental healthcare. Although the evidence for DBIs efficacy is well grounded, the technical and scientific evaluation of DBIs regarding their set up, functionality and components needs to be addressed in future studies.
Lockdown during the pandemic has had significant impacts on public mental health. Previous studies suggest an increase in self-harm and suicide in children and adolescents. There has been little research on the roles of stringent lockdown.
To investigate the mediating and predictive roles of lockdown policy stringency measures in self-harm and emergency psychiatric presentations.
This was a retrospective cohort study. We analysed data of 2073 psychiatric emergency presentations of children and adolescents from 23 hospital catchment areas in ten countries, in March to April 2019 and 2020.
Lockdown measure stringency mediated the reduction in psychiatric emergency presentations (incidence rate ratio of the natural indirect effect [IRRNIE] = 0.41, 95% CI [0.35, 0.48]) and self-harm presentations (IRRNIE = 0.49, 95% CI [0.39, 0.60]) in 2020 compared with 2019. Self-harm presentations among male and looked after children were likely to increase in parallel with lockdown stringency. Self-harm presentations precipitated by social isolation increased with stringency, whereas school pressure and rows with a friend became less likely precipitants. Children from more deprived neighbourhoods were less likely to present to emergency departments when lockdown became more stringent,
Lockdown may produce differential effects among children and adolescents who self-harm. Development in community or remote mental health services is crucial to offset potential barriers to access to emergency psychiatric care, especially for the most deprived youths. Governments should aim to reduce unnecessary fear of help-seeking and keep lockdown as short as possible. Underlying mediation mechanisms of stringent measures and potential psychosocial inequalities warrant further research.
Given the widespread nature and clinical consequences of self-harm and suicidal ideation among adolescents, establishing the efficacy of developmentally appropriate treatments that reduce both self-harm and suicidal ideation in the context of broader adolescent psychopathology is critical.
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for Adolescents (DBT-A) literature on treating self-injury in adolescents (12–19 years). We searched for eligible trials and treatment evaluations published prior to July 2020 in MEDLINE/PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library databases for clinical trials. Twenty-one studies were identified [five randomized-controlled trials (RCTs), three controlled clinical trials (CCTs), and 13 pre-post evaluations]. We extracted data for predefined primary (self-harm, suicidal ideation) and secondary outcomes (borderline personality symptoms; BPD) and calculated treatment effects for RCTs/CCTs and pre-post evaluations. This meta-analysis was pre-registered with OSF: osf.io/v83e7.
Overall, the studies comprised 1673 adolescents. Compared to control groups, DBT-A showed small to moderate effects for reducing self-harm (g = −0.44; 95% CI −0.81 to −0.07) and suicidal ideation (g = −0.31, 95% CI −0.52 to −0.09). Pre-post evaluations suggested large effects for all outcomes (self-harm: g = −0.98, 95% CI −1.15 to −0.81; suicidal ideation: g = −1.16, 95% CI −1.51 to −0.80; BPD symptoms: g = −0.97, 95% CI −1.31 to −0.63).
DBT-A appears to be a valuable treatment in reducing both adolescent self-harm and suicidal ideation. However, evidence that DBT-A reduces BPD symptoms was only found in pre-post evaluations.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) exhibit long-lasting consequences on later life and are considered as a major public health problem. ACEs can be divided into household dysfunctions, which affect the child indirectly, and direct maltreatment. As a high correlation between ACEs in general is known, we assessed the risk for child maltreatment associated with the occurrence of household dysfunctions. To provide a better understanding for the mechanisms leading to the deleterious sequelae of ACEs, we furthermore assessed whether the long-term consequences of household dysfunction are mediated by child maltreatment and thereby might be targeted by effective child protection programs.
A representative sample of the German population above the age of 14 (N = 2531) was assessed in a cross-sectional observational population-based survey.
The data reveal that mental illness of a household member was associated with significantly increased risks for all child maltreatment subtypes (ORs 4.95–5.55), just as household substance abuse (ORs 5.32–6.98), violence against the mother (ORs 4.43–10.26), incarceration of a household member (ORs 6.11–14.93) and parental separation (OR 3.37–4.87). Child maltreatment partially mediated the association of household mental illness, substance abuse and parental separation with later depression, anxiety, life satisfaction and subjective general health status and completely mediated the associations of intimate partner violence (IPV) and incarceration of a household member with anxiety, depression and subjective health status in adulthood.
ACEs linked to household dysfunction are associated with an increased risk for all subtypes of child maltreatment. The assessed widespread consequences of household dysfunction are mediated by child maltreatment. This underlines the role of prevention of child maltreatment in families with household dysfunction and implies child protection as a priority in any interventions.
The International Congress of the International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) takes place every other year. It is an opportunity for specialists from around the world to meet, exchange ideas and plan new projects. Since 2006, the Donald J. Cohen (DJC) Travel Fellowship has been an integral part of the Congress. It aims to foster the professional development of ‘emerging leaders’ in child and adolescent mental health (Adler et al, 2007).