Teens more likely to attempt suicide after concussion
A new study published in PLOS One is thought to be the first to give population-based evidence of the link between traumatic brain injury and poor mental health in teenagers. The Canadian study suggests that teenagers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, are twice as likely to be victims of school bullying or cyberbullying and also almost three times as likely to attempt suicide or be threatened with a weapon at school, compared to peers who have never suffered such an injury.
The research team used data from the 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS). Developed by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, the survey is one of the world's longest ongoing studies of schoolchildren and was completed by nearly 9,000 children in grades 7 to 12 attending public schools across Ontario. Although the survey began as one looking at drug use, the OSDUHS is now a broader study of teen health and well being, and started including questions about traumatic brain injury in 2011.
Because many traumatic injuries occur while young people are engaged in recreation and sports, such as hockey, the researchers suggest the risk of having one would be much reduced if teens wore helmets.