Pediatric suicide is a preventable phenomenon: A single center experience

Pietro Ferrara, Consuelo Benincasa, Caterina Galluccio, Giulia Franceschini, Paolo Mariotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Suicide is a widespread pediatric phenomenon and it represents the third leading cause of death among adolescents. The aim of this study was to evaluate the number of suicide attempts and suicides, the underlying motivations and the methods used to promote prevention, taking charge and treatment.METHODS: Thirty children were enrolled by searching on Google, 10 patients were enlisted by the hospital discharge data of the Child Neuropsychiatry Department of Policlinico Gemelli University Hospital in Rome. The data collected were: nationality, number of inhabitants of the country or city of residence, concomitant psychiatric pathology, family background, previous attempts and other factors such as adoption, bullying, family history of mental illness.RESULTS : Eighty-six point three percent suicide cases and 88.9% suicide attempts cases were Italian. The most part of suicide cases occurred in places with less than 25,000 inhabitants, instead of suicide attempts, which occurred in locations with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Main suicide motivations were cyberbullying and amorous delusion, although 45.4% had unknown justifications. Instead, suicide attempts were frequently motivated by emotional disappointment and psychiatric conditions, with 50.0% of cases without a referred motivation. Among suicide methods, precipitation and jumping against a running train were the most common, while the intake of incongruous amounts of drugs and precipitation were popular methods of suicide attempt.CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric suicide is a preventable phenomenon, despite its complexity. Several strategies, like training health professionals in assisting and managing patients who have attempted suicide identified were identified. Pediatrician must have a fundamental role in the early recognition of risk factors, also involving parents and teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-106
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Child
  • Pediatrics
  • Risk factors
  • Suicide


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