Adolescent distress – is it more than just a passing phase?

In a commentary piece published in the Lancet this month, Prof. George Patton and Dr. Rohan Borschmann from the Centre for Adolescent Health argued that self-harm, violence and excessive substance use during adolescence should be viewed by family members, friends and clinicians as more than merely a ‘passing phase’. Referring to data from a recent longitudinal UK study of emergency department (ED) presentations by Annie Herbert and colleagues, they noted that the risk of mortality was up to 15 times higher in adolescents who presented to an ED for one of the aforementioned reasons (referred to as ‘adversity-related’ presentations) when compared to those who attended for accident-related reasons. Moreover, this risk remained elevated for up to ten years after the index presentation. In light of this, crisis presentations in adolescents should be seen as more than a passing phase. Health-care professionals should no longer see an adolescent presenting in distress as a nuisance, wasting valuable clinical time, but as a vulnerable person deserving the second chance that responsive and sustained health care can provide.

Comments are closed.

Previous post Next post