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Higher suicide risk of teen consulters

Teenagers who consult more than once for mental health problems or upper respiratory tract infections have a higher risk of suicide, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow examined consulting habits of 2,359

15-year-olds from 34 randomly selected UK practices. They found one in every 100 patients had harmed themselves to a life-threatening degree by age 15 and that these patients consulted their GP about four times per year compared with 2.3 times for controls.

Some 19 per cent of adolescents who had attempted suicide consulted their GP more than once for upper respiratory tract infections compared with just 8 per cent of controls.

The authors said in last month's Family Practice: 'Consulting more than once for mental health concerns or upper respiratory tract infections where there are no physical signs could be an indicator of suicide risk. An increased level of awareness of possible indicators of suicide in 15-year-olds might alert GPs to consider interventions.'

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