A new study found that teens who have suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury(TBI) are more likely to have harmful behaviours such as smoking cigarettes and contemplating suicide.

“Many harmful behaviours in adolescence can be precursors to addiction and mental health issues later in life,” said Dr. Robert Mann, a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

The study used data from the 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health survey where researchers investigated 13 harmful health behaviours among 9,300 Grade 7 to 12 students.

Interesting results varied between different sexes with a history of TBI.

Boys were found 6% more likely to experience a concussion but girls were more likely to have increased psychological distress.

New research has found that teenagers who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) have a significantly higher risk of attempting suicide, being bullied, and seeking help for mental health issues. They are also more likely to become bullies, take medication for anxiety and/or depression, or engage in antisocial behaviour.

Neuropsychologist and lead researcher Gabriela Ilie believes the results should serve as a “wake-up call” for parents, educators, and medical professionals. Caregivers must be vigilant to screen and monitor brain injured kids over the long-term.