New research reported in the Journal of Affective Disorders revealed that the impact is significantly higher for teenagers and young adults. In the U.S., suicide is the second leading cause of death in teenagers. Typically, psychological issues such as depression, alcohol and substance use are linked to the risk of attempted suicide among teenagers. Now, we must add head injury to the list of risk factors. Significantly, the risk of TBI is amplified for teenagers because their brains are in a sensitive state required for maturation, plus they are more likely to be involved in sports and other behaviors that expose them to head injury.
The study found that suicidal thoughts and behavior are reported in 1 percent of people ages 12-29 in the U.S. However, the incidence of suicidal thoughts and behavior increases significantly to 4.6 percent of young adults who have sustained a TBI. Additionally, the research revealed that the age of first suicide attempt was significantly younger in children with a history of TBI, and that the risks are higher for girls and those with more repeated and more severe TBIs.