Research in adolescent suicide: implications for training, service delivery, and public policy

Suicide Life Threat Behav. Summer 1995;25(2):222-30.


Four domains of research in adolescent suicide are reviewed: (1) the role of psychopathology, (2) family history of psychopathology, (3) mental health treatments, and (4) firearms in the home. Based on the extant literature, recommendations are made for changes in training, service delivery, and public policy. Among the recommendations for training professionals are: an emphasis on diagnostic proficiency, skill and attentiveness in the assessment of the entire family unit, and assessment of the availability of firearms in the home. With respect to changes in service delivery, we recommend treatment of the entire family system, and treatment of psychiatric and substance abuse problems in the same setting, and we show the need for a continuum of intensity of care from inpatient to outpatient. With respect to policy changes, we recommended parity of mental and physical health insurance coverage, screening for psychiatrically at-risk youngsters in schools and physicians' offices, providing funding to support a continuum of care between inpatient and outpatient, and gun control laws to restrict access to handguns. We believe that these changes can result in a substantial reduction in the adolescent suicide rate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Family Therapy* / education
  • Female
  • Firearms
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Development
  • Public Policy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / prevention & control*
  • Suicide / psychology