Table of Contents
ISRN Family Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 282378, 11 pages
Research Article

Suicidal Ideation in a Population-Based Sample of Adolescents: Implications for Family Medicine Practice

1Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, 246 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A1
2Kinark Child and Family Services, 34 Simcoe Street, Suite 301, Barrie, ON, Canada L4N 6T4
3Parent and Child Capacity Building Team, Peel Children's Aid Society, 6860 Century Avenue, Mississauga, ON, Canada L5N 2W5

Received 28 November 2012; Accepted 23 December 2012

Academic Editors: D. Goodridge, A. M. Salinas-Martinez, and R. Snacken

Copyright © 2013 Esme Fuller-Thomson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. This study investigated the relationship between suicidal ideation and demographic characteristics, health conditions, depression, and health care utilization patterns among adolescents. Methods. Secondary analysis of the regionally representative Canadian Community Health Survey conducted in 2000/2001 (response rate 85%). Adolescents aged 15 to 19 who reported suicidal ideation in the previous year ( ) were compared with their peers who did not ( ). The association between suicidal ideation and socio-demographic and health characteristics were investigated. Findings. Almost three-quarters (73%) of suicidal adolescents had not spoken with any health professional about mental health issues in the preceding year. Despite the fact that 80% of suicidal adolescents had regular contact with their family doctor, only 5% had consulted with them about mental health issues. In addition to the well-known risk factors of depression and stress, suicidal ideation was highly elevated in adolescents with two or more chronic health conditions, self-reported poor health, migraines, and back pain and those whose activities were prevented by pain ( ). Other characteristics significantly correlated with suicidal ideation included smoking, living in single parent families, and having lower levels of social support. Conclusions. Family physicians should regularly screen for suicidal thoughts in their adolescent patients with these characteristics.