Parent's Suicide Ups Child's Suicide Risk

BALTIMORE, April 23 (UPI) — Losing a parent — from suicide, accident or illness — increases a child’s risk of being hospitalized for depression, U.S. researchers found.

Study leader Holly Wilcox of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore looked at 500,000 children, teens and young adults in Sweden who had lost a parent to suicide, accident, or illness and compared them with 4 million who had living parents.

The researchers found losing a parent — regardless of cause — increased a child’s risk of committing a violent crime.

The study, scheduled to be published in the May Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, also found a child who lost a parent to suicide was three times more likely than one with living parents to commit suicide. However, in those age 18 and older, there was no difference in suicide risk between those who lost a parent to suicide and those who had living parents.

“Losing a parent to suicide at an early age emerges as a catalyst for suicide and psychiatric disorders,” Wilcox said in a statement.

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