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Denmark apparently keeps a lot of records on file, including everyone’s address and mental health histories. Researchers recently took advantage of these databases to run some analyses, and their findings were surprising: People who moved a lot in early adolescence were significantly more likely to have problems with violence, substance abuse, and mental health as adults. They were also more likely to die young.

Furthermore, the older a minor was at the time of a move, the more likely he or she was to attempt suicide at some point.

These risks were apparent for all income and education levels.

Family moves are often necessary or desirable for a lot of reasons, so the takeaway here is that if you decide to move your family, be on the lookout for signs of mental health issues in your children and be prepared to help. Doctors, teachers, and other people who work with youth should be vigilant, too.

Here’s a website with a good list of warning signs for adolescent mental health disorders. If you suspect a problem, talk with your family doctor and a mental health professional right away.

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults. 

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