Authors: (Joav Merrick, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Jerusalem, and others)
Abstract: Suicide is a leading cause of death in adolescence. Studies indicate that the best way to
prevent suicide is through early detection and treatment of depression and other
psychiatric illnesses that increase suicide risk. Prevention of suicide may often depend
upon front-line professionals who see suicidal youth. These professionals will likely not
be mental health professionals, so primary care physicians and others who have
substantial contact with youth need to be aware of and screen for suicidal ideation. A
number of studies show that deliberate self-harm patients who presented to emergency
rooms and left without a psychosocial and/or psychiatric assessment were more likely to
engage in subsequent self-harm. Prevention of suicide must include intervention
regarding the precursors of the ideation, intention, and behavior as well as continued
assessment and treatment subsequent to a suicide attempt.
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