• adolescence;
  • suicidal idea;
  • drug abuse;
  • delinquency

A total of 1600 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 16 living in a county bordering on Paris were interviewed concerning their health, their use of drugs, both legal and illegal, their behavior, and their seeking of health care. Fourteen percent of the boys and 23% of the girls had already thought about suicide and 5% and 10% (respectively) proclaimed having thought about it frequently. Young adolescents who thought about suicide, the girls as well as the boys, had more health problems (fatigue, nightmares, insomnia), used more drugs (including tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs, psychotropic medicine) and had more delinquent behavior (robbery, running away from home, racketeering). Furthermore, the girls had problems in school (absenteeism and being left back). In general, youngsters with suicidal thoughts resorted to violence in a variety of ways. Although these youngsters spoke less readily about their personal problems, they more frequently sought physical health care (doctors, nurses, social workers). This discrepency between their difficulty in communication and their readiness to ask for physical care is a clear indication of their need to be helped.