Many studies have shown that teenagers and college students with a history of depression are at higher risk for suicide. A study just published has found that teenagers and college students with ADHD and depression have an even higher risk of suicide than students with depression without ADHD symptoms. Boys and men appear to be at a higher risk for suicide completion than girls and women.
These facts are alarming but the good news is that suicide is preventable. Statistics show that 70% percent of people who commit suicide have visited a medical provider within a month of their suicide and many mental health providers believe that people with a suicide plan see these providers in an attempt to get help. Unfortunately, suicide is rarely a discussion that is brought up by doctors, counselors, teachers or parents.
These conversations are not easy but we need to have them. Parents, teachers, counselors and physicians who interact with teenagers with a diagnosis of ADHD should be asking about them about suicidal ideas and about suicide plans. I would argue that these conversations should occur even if the kid with ADHD does not appear depressed.
The study that I am referencing and a slightly older study on the same topic are listed below.
Clin Psychol. 2013 Jun 17. doi: 10.1002/jclp.21994.
Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Moderate Suicidal Behaviors in College Students With Depressed Mood. Patros CH, Hudec KL, Alderson RM, Kasper LJ, Davidson C, Wingate LR.
Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2012 Feb;125(2):93-102. doi 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01798.x. Epub 2011 Nov 25.
Completed suicide, ideation and attempt in attention deficit
Impey M, Heun R.