Study Shows Brain Injuries in Teens Increased Thoughts of Suicide and Other Emotional Issues

According to DailyRx.com, over half a million teenagers experience a serious concussion every year. A recent study conducted at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario found that teenagers who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) were at a significantly increased risk of:

  • Being bullied
  • Attempting or thinking about suicide
  • Having elevated psychological stress
  • Engaging in various poor conduct behaviors, like running away from home or starting a fight at school.

The study included 4,685 public school students in 7th to 12th grade who took the Ontario Student Drug and Health Survey in 2011. The students were between 11 and 20 years old.

The researchers asked the students to report lifetime TBIs, defined as a head injury that resulted in being unconscious for at least five minutes or being hospitalized for at least one night. Mental and emotional health was assessed through a 12-item questionnaire on depressive symptoms, anxiety and social dysfunction.

Students were then asked if they had considered or attempted suicide, contacted a crisis helpline to talk to a counselor or been prescribed medication for depression, anxiety or both during the 12 months prior to the survey.

The findings showed that 20 percent of the students reported lifetime TBI, with male students being 47 percent more likely to report TBI than the female students.

The students who experienced a TBI were 52 percent more likely to have elevated psychological stress compared to students who did not experience a brain injury. The researchers found that TBI was associated with 3.39 times increased odds of attempting suicide and 1.93 times increased odds of thinking about suicide.

“These results show that preventable brain injuries and mental health and behavioral problems among teens continue to remain a blind spot in our culture,” the lead author of the study said in a press statement. “These kids are falling through the cracks.”

What Should I Do If My Child Sustained a Head Injury?

The researchers believe that doctors should be aware if their patients have had a TBI and screen them for potential mental and behavioral problems. It is important to tell your pediatrician if your child has experienced a TBI.

The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Personal Injury Attorney



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