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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 62 (2020) 4, 274 - 282

Review article

Parents of suicidal young persons and transitional psychiatry: therapeutic and ethical challenges

M. Sabbe, G. Hendrickx, E. Vanlinthout, S. Tremmery

background Young people aged 15-25 with mental health problems often experience discontinuity of care during the transition from child to adult mental health services. Furthermore, suicide is one of the most common causes of death in this age category. Although it is known that parents are important in the care process of suicidal youth, parental participation faces various challenges.
aim To investigate the ethical, therapeutic and practical aspects regarding parents of a suicidal young person during the mental health care transition.
method A literature search in the most important literature databases.
results We found no studies that specifically examined the role of parents of suicidal youth during the transition. However, there is enough scientific evidence suggesting that including parents during treatment of suicidal young persons has a positive effect on outcome and quality of life. Regarding transition, parents are also important. Nevertheless, several bottlenecks impede their involvement.
conclusion Parental participation during transitional care is hampered by ethical, therapeutic and practical issues. Taking these into account, parents should be involved as much as possible in the care for their child. Furthermore, sufficient attention must be paid to the concerns and needs of the parents themselves.

keywords parents, suicide, transition, young persons