Screening Youth for Suicide Risk


The suicide rate among U.S. youth and young adults, ages 10 to 24, has risen in recent years, increasing by nearly 50 percent between 2007 and 2017, and reaching its highest point since 2000 according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017, 6769 suicides occurred among youth and young adults ages 10 to 24 years, of which 5375 were male and 1394 were female. (1,2) Early detection of suicide risk through screening is an important method of identifying those at risk. Research-based screening and assessment tools are available for use in multiple settings. 

In this webinar, Dr. Lisa Horowitz of the National Institute of Mental Health and Dr. Jeff Bridge of Nationwide Children’s Hospital provided background data on suicide and suicidal behavior among youth and young adults and discussed suicide prevention research in screening in both medical and school settings. Turning suicide prevention research into real-world adaptations of sustainable programs is challenging, but lessons learned from real-world adaptations can inform more effective suicide prevention strategies in multiple settings. Dr. Horowitz presented on the ASQ (Ask Suicide-Screening Questions) tool developed to help clinicians ask patients directly about suicidal ideation and behavior. She described a 3-tiered clinical pathway for implementing suicide risk screening in all medical settings including emergency departments, inpatient medical/surgical units and outpatient primary care settings. School systems are also critical venues to identify and intervene upon youth at risk. Sustainable models of school-based suicide prevention programs are necessary for individual schools and the surrounding communities that may suffer from limited resources. Dr. Bridge discussed implementations of the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program, which was designed to help schools utilize community partnerships while implementing critical best-practice features of gatekeeper training, peer-to-peer support, and universal suicide risk assessment. 

  1. WISQARS CDC database
  2. Suicide Rates Among Adolescents and Young Adults in the United States, 2000-2017. Oren Miron, MA1; Kun-Hsing Yu, MD, PhD1; Rachel Wilf-Miron, MD, MPH2; et al. JAMA. 2019;321(23):2362-2364. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.5054
CSN Webinar