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Nov 12, 2015 06:34 AM EST

Losing a parent increases risk of suicide for kids under 18

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A new study says that kids who lose a parent when they are young are more likely to commit suicide later in life as compared to kids whose parents survive until they are adults, Time reports.

The study, which was done by researchers at Aarhus University, looked at government data on 7.3 million kids from Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Out of the total, 189,094 kids had lost a parent before they turned 18.

The researchers compared that with data on 1.8 million kids who went through childhood without a loss of either of the parents. They followed the two groups for 40 years.

The study revealed that Kids who lost a parent were twice as likely to commit suicide as the control group, with the rik of suicide being higher for boys.

With the advancement in  modern healthcare in the Western countries, only about 3 to 4% of kids lose their parents while they're young. While a majority of them are able to adopt, others develop what the researchers call "preventable social and psychological problems."

An earlier study from the University of Pittsburgh found that kids whose parents died suddenly were at higher risk for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Danish authors conclude that even if the kids look like they are fine, therapy may still be recommended.

"Our study points to the early mitigation of distress to reduce the risk of suicidal behavior among children who had a parent who died during childhood," they write.

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