Mental health difficulties and suicidal behaviours among young migrants: multicentre study of European adolescents

BJPsych Open. 2017 Nov 30;3(6):291-299. doi: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.117.005322. eCollection 2017 Nov.


Background: Migration has been reported to be associated with higher prevalence of mental disorders and suicidal behaviour.

Aims: To examine the prevalence of emotional and behavioural difficulties, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among migrant adolescents and their non-migrant peers.

Method: A school-based survey was completed by 11 057 European adolescents as part of the Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe (SEYLE) study.

Results: A previous suicide attempt was reported by 386 (3.6%) adolescents. Compared with non-migrants, first-generation migrants had an elevated prevalence of suicide attempts (odds ratio (OR) 2.08; 95% CI 1.32-3.26; P=0.001 for European migrants and OR 1.86; 95% CI 1.06-3.27; P=0.031 for non-European migrants) and significantly higher levels of peer difficulties. Highest levels of conduct and hyperactivity problems were found among migrants of non-European origin.

Conclusions: Appropriate mental health services and school-based supports are required to meet the complex needs of migrant adolescents.

Declaration of interest: None.

Copyright and usage: © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2017. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) license.