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Young People's Pathways to a Specialist Suicide Prevention Service and the Influence of Caregiver prior Suicidality and Mental Health Treatment
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  • Anna Sidis,
  • Zozan Onay,
  • Frank Deane,
  • Laura Robinson
Anna Sidis
University of Wollongong School of Psychology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Zozan Onay
University of Wollongong School of Psychology
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Frank Deane
University of Wollongong School of Psychology
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Laura Robinson
University of Wollongong School of Psychology
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Abstract

Aim. Timely help-seeking and pathways to care (PtC) have been linked to positive outcomes in suicidal adolescents. While the importance of formal contacts is recognised, caregivers also play a significant role in these pathways. Caregiver’s familiarity with mental health issues may influence an adolescent’s PtC. This study explores the relationship between a caregiver’s prior suicidality and mental health treatment on their children’s pathways to entering a specialist suicide prevention treatment program. Method. Caregivers ( n = 118, 35 males and 83 females) of young individuals (12-25 years) who were admitted into an outpatient suicide prevention service, completed a self-report questionnaire describing their child’s onset of symptoms, help-seeking, PtC and the caregiver’s prior suicidality and mental health treatment. Results. Parents were the source most likely to recognise the onset of suicidality, with general practitioners and psychologists the most common first contacts. Significant delays were identified for onset duration averaging 48.0 weeks, and it was observed that shorter delays in treatment were related to fewer number of contacts. Caregiver prior suicidality was associated with longer delays in treatment but had no relationship with onset duration. Conclusion. Caregivers and professional contacts are vital agents in improving the PtC of suicidal adolescents. Results highlight the significant delays in treatment and the added complexity of a caregiver’s prior experience of suicidality to these pathways. These complexities warrant further exploration to minimise obstacles that hinder help-seeking and lengthen PtC, as this may improve interventions and outcomes for suicidal adolescents and their caregivers. Keywords. Pathways to care; delay in treatment; caregiver familiarity; suicide; adolescent.
16 Nov 20231st Revision Received
16 Nov 2023Assigned to Editor
16 Nov 2023Submission Checks Completed
16 Nov 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
16 Nov 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned