Hales, H., Edmondson, Amanda J., Davison, S., Maughan, B. and Taylor, P.J. (2015) The impact of contact with suicide related behaviour in prisons in young offenders. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 36 (1). pp. 21-30. ISSN 0227-5910

Prison suicide rates are high, and suicide-related behaviors (SRBs) higher, but effects of contact with such behaviors in prison have not previously been examined.
To compare the mental state of young men witnessing a peer's suicide-related behavior in prison with that of men without such experience, and to test for factors associated with morbidity.
Forty-six male prisoners (age 16-21 years) reporting contact with another's suicide-related behavior in prison were interviewed 6 months after the incident, with validated questionnaires, as were 44 without such contact at least 6 months into their imprisonment.
Significantly higher levels of psychiatric morbidity and own suicide-related behaviors were found in the witness group, even after controlling for their higher levels of family mental illness and pre-exposure experience of in-prison bullying. Some personal factors were associated with higher morbidity; incident and institutional factors were not.
Findings of heightened vulnerabilities among young men exposed to suicide-related behaviors in prison suggest a need for longitudinal study to clarify temporal relationships and inform strategies to prevent or limit development of morbidity and further harm.

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