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Open AccessArticle

Exploring Harms Experienced by Children Aged 7 to 11 Using Ambulance Attendance Data: A 6-Year Comparison with Adolescents Aged 12–17

by Debbie Scott 1,2,*, Rose Crossin 1,2, Rowan Ogeil 1,2, Karen Smith 3,4,5 and Dan I. Lubman 1,2
1
Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Box Hill, Melbourne, VIC 3128, Australia
2
Turning Point, Eastern Health, Richmond, VIC 3121, Australia
3
Ambulance Victoria, Doncaster, VIC 3108, Australia
4
Department of Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice, Monash University, Frankston, VIC 3199, Australia
5
Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1385; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071385
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 30 June 2018 / Published: 2 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Health Needs of Vulnerable Children: Challenges and Solutions)
Many population data sources do not routinely collect data of children under 12, despite research showing that mental health, self-injurious behaviour, and substance ingestion can have severe consequences in this age group. We used 6 years (January 2012 to December 2017) of ambulance attendance data from the Australian state of Victoria to characterise mental health, self-injurious behaviour, and substance ingestion in children aged 7–11. We compared this group to older children aged 12–17. We found that in comparison to those aged 12–17 (n = 26,778), a smaller number of children aged 7–11 years (n = 1558) were experiencing serious harms, with mental health symptomology the most common harmful outcome. Self-injurious behaviour significantly increased in both age groups throughout the study period. For mental health, self-injurious behaviour and substance ingestion in the 7–11 age group, males were significantly over-represented. These aged 7–11 were more likely to ingest pharmaceuticals, rather than alcohol or illicit substances, and suicidal ideation was the most common self-injurious behaviour in this age group. Our study suggests that data collection needs to occur specifically in the 7–11 age group, and importantly, services and interventions to improve mental health and wellbeing will need to be specifically designed and targeted at this age group. View Full-Text
Keywords: adolescence; self-injury; socio-economic status; suicidal behaviour; substance ingestion; alcohol; prescription drugs; illicit drugs adolescence; self-injury; socio-economic status; suicidal behaviour; substance ingestion; alcohol; prescription drugs; illicit drugs
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Scott, D.; Crossin, R.; Ogeil, R.; Smith, K.; Lubman, D.I. Exploring Harms Experienced by Children Aged 7 to 11 Using Ambulance Attendance Data: A 6-Year Comparison with Adolescents Aged 12–17. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1385.

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