Research shows that kids who lose a parent are more likely to commit suicide

Research shows that kids who lose a parent are more likely to commit suicide

Are you a widow or widower? This is a must-read for you, as it concerns your child's mental health.

Is this just another sad fact of life?

Recent research from the Aarhus University in Denmark showed that kids who lost a parent in their younger years were more likely to commit suicide later on in life than kids who grew up with living parents.

This sad bit of news emerged after researchers took a closer look at large amounts of data from 7.3 million children gathered from Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The initial findings suggested that losing a parent during childhood increases the likelihood of death in the next 40 years.

Who are at risk?

Taking a closer look, researchers saw that a very small percentage of children lose their parents—about only 4%. When they looked further into the deaths of these children, though, they were surprised to find that suicide was a common cause of death.

Further analysis also showed that those who lost parents when they were young are twice as likely to commit suicide—especially if they are male.

Trauma from violent parental deaths

Keep in mind that the data above did not take into consideration the nature of the parents’ deaths. But a separate study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh did support the Denmark researchers' findings.

This other study showed that children whose parents died violently are more likely to be depressed and suffer Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

Researchers also took into consideration that the data came from highly-developed Western countries where health care and therapy are very accessible. They expressed concern about the situation in less-developed countries, where mental health facilities aren’t as advanced.

If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. 

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