Adolescent Suicide

Published August 2021

The Psychiatric Services Editor’s Choice provides essential curated collections from recent issues of Psychiatric Services.  Each month, Editor Lisa Dixon and the Early Career Psychiatrist Advisory Committee offer a curated collection from the rich resource of articles published in the journal. Updates will focus on one area, summarizing for the researcher, clinician, and policy analyst the latest information and seminal research with links to specific content from Psychiatric Services.

Suicidal ideation, attempts, and completion have been steadily increasing among U.S. adolescents, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this problem. This trend may be related both to increases in stressors related to the pandemic and to decreases in available supports. In the absence of sufficient community-based mental health services, emergency department visits for suicide attempts have increased among adolescents in late 2020 and early 2021 relative to previous years. As adolescent suicide attempt rates appear to have increased during the pandemic, a local surge in adolescent suicide prompted the Las Vegas school district in Clark County to resume in-person education, underscoring the need for school-based identification of at-risk youths and intervention.

This Editor’s Choice collection features articles that highlight detection of youths at risk of suicide and strategies that can be implemented to reduce this risk. The first set of articles examines strategies to identify those at risk, including review of universal suicide risk screening in emergency departments, depression screening in pediatric primary care, and identification of factors associated with suicide attempt and self-injury. The second group highlights interventions for adolescents that both mental health and non–mental-health professionals can implement, including strategies that can be used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note that not all articles in this curated collection are available without a subscription. For access, learn about subscribing to Psychiatric Services.


Identifying Adolescent Suicide Risk via Depression Screening in Pediatric Primary Care: An Electronic Health Record Review
Molly Davis, Ph.D., Victoria Rio, B.A., Alyssa M. Farley, Ph.D., Morgan L. Bush, B.A., Rinad S. Beidas, Ph.D., Jami F. Young, Ph.D.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 2, pp. 163–168

Universal Suicide Risk Screening for Youths in the Emergency Department: A Systematic Review
Paige E. Cervantes, Ph.D., Dana E. M. Seag, B.A., Argelinda Baroni, M.D., Ruth Gerson, M.D., Katrina Knapp, D.O., Ee Tein Tay, M.D., Ethan Wiener, M.D., Sarah McCue Horwitz, Ph.D.
Epub ahead of print, June 9, 2021

Twelve-Month Suicidal Symptoms and Use of Services Among Adolescents: Results From the National Comorbidity Survey
Mathilde M. Husky, Ph.D., Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., Jian-ping He, M.Sc., Matthew K. Nock, Ph.D., Sonja Alsemgeest Swanson, Sc.M., Kathleen Ries Merikangas, Ph.D.
2012; Volume 63, Issue 1, pp. 989–996

Emergency Department Use and Inpatient Admissions and Costs Among Adolescents with Deliberate Self-Harm: A Five-Year Follow-Up Study
Sidra Goldman-Mellor, Ph.D., Dwena Phillips, B.A., Paul Brown, Ph.D., Paul Gruenewald, Ph.D., Magdalena Cerdá, Dr.P.H., Deborah Wiebe, Ph.D.
2020; Volume 71, Issue 2, pp. 136–143

Utilization Patterns at a Specialized Children’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program
Ruth Gerson, M.D., Jennifer Havens, M.D., Mollie Marr, B.F.A., Amy Storfer-Isser, Ph.D., Mia Lee, B.A., Carolena Rojas Marcos, M.P.H., Michelle Liu, M.D., Sarah McCue Horwitz, Ph.D.
2017; Volume 68, Issue 11, pp. 1104–1111

Medically Treated Self-Injury Among Children and Adolescents: Repeated Attempts and Service Use Over 1 Year
Molly Adrian, Ph.D., Christopher DeCou, Ph.D., Laura S. Gold, Ph.D.
2020; Volume 71, Issue 5, pp. 447–455

Behavioral Health Diagnoses Among Children and Adolescents Hospitalized in the United States: Observations and Implications
Natalia N. Egorova, Ph.D., M.P.H., Harold Alan Pincus, M.D., Eyal Shemesh, M.D., Lawrence C. Kleinman, M.D., M.P.H.
2018; Volume 69, Issue 8, pp. 910–918

Rehospitalization of Suicidal Adolescents in Relation to Course of Suicidal Ideation and Future Suicide Attempts
Ewa K. Czyz, Ph.D., Johnny Berona, M.S., Cheryl A. King, Ph.D.
2016; 67, Issue 3, pp. 332–338

Safety Planning Intervention for Adolescents: Provider Attitudes and Response to Training in the Emergency Services Setting
Alexandra H. Bettis, Ph.D., Kathleen R. Donise, M.D., Heather A. MacPherson, Ph.D., Pauline Bagatelas, B.Sc., Jennifer C. Wolff, Ph.D.
2020; Volume 71, Issue 11, pp. 1136–1142

Reduction of Postdischarge Suicidal Behavior Among Adolescent Through a Telephone-Based Intervention
Manivel Rengasamy, M.D., Garrett Sparks, M.D.
2019; Volume 70, Issue 7, pp. 545–552

Teen Options for Change: An Intervention for Young Emergency Patients Who Screen Positive for Suicide Risk
Cheryl A. King, Ph.D., Polly Y. Gipson, Ph.D., Adam G. Horwitz, M.S., Kiel J. Opperman, M.A.
2015; Volume 66, Issue 1, pp. 97–100

Schools as a Vital Component of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health System
Sharon Hoover, Ph.D., Jeff Bostic M.D., Ed.D.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 1, pp. 37-48

Collaborating to Provide Early-Intervention Services to Persons in England With First-Episode Psychosis
Elizabeth England, M.D., Helen Lester M.D., and Maximillian Birchwood, Ph.D.
2009; Volume 60, Issue 11, pp. 1484-1488

Transformation of Children’s Mental Health Services: The Role of School Mental Health
Sharon Hoover Stephan, Ph.D., Mark Weist, Ph.D., Sheryl Kataoka, M.D., M.S.H.S., Steven Adelsheim, M.D., and Carrie Mills, B.S.
2007; Volume 58, Issue 10, pp. 1330-1338.

Need for Mental Health Services and Service Use Among High School Students in China
Ping Wu, Ph.D., Li-Ping Li, Ph.D., Jue Jin, M.S., Xiao-Hong Yuan, M.Sc., Xinhua Liu, Ph.D., Bin Fan, M.D., Cordelia Fuller, M.A., Yao-Gui Lu, B.S., and Christina W. Hoven, Dr.P.H.
2012; Volume 63, Issue 10, pp. 1026-1031

Services for Adolescents With Psychiatric Disorders: 12-Month Data From the National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent
E. Jane Costello, Ph.D., Jian-ping He, M.S., Nancy A. Sampson, B.A., Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D., and Kathleen Ries Merikangas, Ph.D.
2014; Volume 65, Issue 3, pp. 359-366

Unmet Needs for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services among Northern Plains American Indian Adolescents
Douglas K. Novins, M.D., Janette Beals, Ph.D., William H. Sack, M.D., and Spero M. Manson, Ph.D.
2000; Volume 51, Issue 8, pp. 1045-1047

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