Saving Lives: Recognizing and Intervening with Youth at Risk for Suicide

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2021 May 7;17:259-284. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-081219-103740. Epub 2021 Feb 5.


Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth in the United States. Fortunately, substantial advances have been achieved in identifying and intervening with youth at risk. In this review, we first focus on advances in proactive suicide risk screening and psychoeducation aimed at improving the recognition of suicide risk. These strategies have the potential to improve our ability to recognize and triage youth at risk who may otherwise be missed. We then review recent research on interventions for youth at risk. We consider a broad range of psychotherapeutic interventions, including crisis interventions in emergency care settings. Though empirical support remains limited for interventions targeting suicide risk in youth, effective and promising approaches continue to be identified. We highlight evidence-based screening and intervention approaches as well as challenges in these areas and recommendations for further investigation.

Keywords: crisis; intervention; prevention; screening; suicide; youth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Humans
  • Suicide Prevention*
  • United States