Suicide thoughts and attempts among young adults on a sharp increase since Covid

Suicide thoughts and attempts among young adults on a sharp increase since Covid

This is a new signal of the deterioration of the mental health of 18-24 year olds. According to the latest Public Health France barometer, revealed this Monday on the occasion of National Suicide Prevention Day, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts among young adults have increased significantly since Covid.

In this survey, conducted in 2021 by telephone among a sample of more than 24,000 people aged 18 to 85 in mainland France and 6,500 in the overseas departments and regions (DROM), 4.2 % of respondents said they had thought about committing suicide in the past 12 months. In total, 6.8% declared a suicide attempt over their lifetime and 0.5% in the past year, according to these data.

Among those aged 18-75, the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts declared during the year had fallen slightly since 2014, while that of suicide attempts over a lifetime had stabilized (the changes were established on 18-75 year olds using health barometers carried out from 2000 whose methodology was comparable).

According to Public Health France, “the main result” of this survey is “a significant increase in suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts over the course of life among 18-24 year olds, observed over the past ten years”.

Women more affected

Suicidal thoughts have more than doubled since 2014 among 18-24 year olds, going from 3.3% to 7.2% in 2021. Suicide attempts reported during their lifetime have increased by 50% compared to in 2017, increasing from 6.1% to 9.2%, and those declared in the last 12 months by more than 60%, from 0.7% in 2017 to 1.1% in 2021.

These results “constitute a significant change since they were lower than or comparable to other age groups in the population in health barometers which preceded the Covid-19 pandemic », Recalls the public health agency. This reversal of trend “confirms the significant increase in unease among the youngest”.

In this age group, the mental health of young women seems particularly affected: the prevalence of suicidal thoughts reaches 9.4% of women aged 18-24, that of suicide attempts during their lifetime 12.8%, and that during the year 2%.

Other lessons from the survey: other categoriessuch as people who are socio-economically vulnerable, those living alone or raising their children alone, are more affected by suicidal gestures and ideas.

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