Help-seeking behaviour following school-based screening for current suicidality among European adolescents.


Purpose: To screen and clinically interview European adolescents reporting current suicidality (suicidal ideation and suicide attempt) and investigate attendance at the clinical interview. Methods: The Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe (SEYLE) Project was carried out in 11 European countries. A baseline questionnaire was completed in school by 12,395 adolescents (mean age 14.9; SD 0.9). Those who screened positive for suicidality (attempting suicide and/or serious suicidal ideation or plans) in the past 2 weeks were invited to a clinical interview with a mental health professional. Results: Of the 12,395 adolescents, 4.2 % (n = 516) screened positive for current suicidality. The prevalence ranged from 1.1 % in Hungary to 7.7 % in Israel (p < 0.001). 37.6 % (n = 194) of those who screened positive subsequently attended the clinical interview. Female students were more likely to attend for interview (42.0 % versus 30.6 %, p = 0.010). The attendance rate varied considerably across countries, from 5.7 % in Italy to 96.7 % in France (p < 0.001). Improved attendance was associated with using school as the only interview setting (Mean attendance rate, MAR = 88 vs. 31 %, p = 0.006) and arranging the interview within 1 week of contacting the student (MAR = 64 vs. 23 %, p = 0.013). The greater the travel time to interview, the lower the attendance rate (Pearson's r = -0.64, p = 0.034). Independent of the variation by country, at the individual level, adolescents with more depressive symptoms and a recent suicide attempt more often attended for interview. Conclusion: A high rate of current suicidality was found amongst European adolescents. However, the majority of these displayed limited help-seeking behaviour. Future studies should investigate ways of making screening programmes and other interventions more acceptable and accessible to young people, especially young males.