Article Title

Premature mortality in young people accessing early intervention youth mental healthcare: Data-linkage cohort study


Background: Understanding premature mortality risk from suicide and other causes in youth mental health cohorts is essential for delivering effective clinical interventions and secondary prevention strategies.

Aims: To establish premature mortality risk in young people accessing early intervention mental health services and identify predictors of mortality.

Method: State-wide data registers of emergency departments, hospital admissions and mortality were linked to the Brain and Mind Research Register, a longitudinal cohort of 7081 young people accessing early intervention care, between 2008 and 2020. Outcomes were mortality rates and age-standardised mortality ratios (SMR). Cox regression was used to identify predictors of allcause mortality and deaths due to suicide or accident.

Results: There were 60 deaths (male 63.3%) during the study period, 25 (42%) due to suicide, 19 (32%) from accident or injury and eight (13.3%) where cause was under investigation. All-cause SMR was 2.0 (95% CI 1.6–2.6) but higher for males (5.3, 95% CI 3.8–7.0). The mortality rate from suicide and accidental deaths was 101.56 per 100 000 person-years. Poisoning, whether intentional or accidental, was the single greatest primary cause of death (26.7%). Prior emergency department presentation for poisoning (hazard ratio (HR) 4.40, 95% CI 2.13–9.09) and psychiatric admission (HR 4.01, 95% CI 1.81–8.88) were the strongest predictors of mortality.

Conclusion: Premature mortality in young people accessing early intervention mental health services is greatly increased relative to population. Prior health service use and method of self-harm are useful predictors of future mortality. Enhanced care pathways following emergency department presentations should not be limited to those reporting suicidal ideation or intent.


youth mental health, suicidal behaviour, deliberate self-harm, mortality, accident and injury

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