SAMHSA Issue Brief: Treatment for Suicidal Ideation Among Youth

“Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 in the United States, and suicide attempts are significantly higher among youth, compared to adults.” (SAMHSA, Treatment, pg. 3)

Cover of the Treadment for Suicidal Ideation, Self-Harm, and Suicide Attempts Among Youth guide by SAMHSA.The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has published a new guide, Treatment for Suicidal Ideation, Self-harm, and Suicide Attempts Among Youth (PDF 22.36 MB), as part of its Evidence-Based Resource Guide Series focused on the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and mental illnesses.

With this specific guide, SAMHSA’s goal is to inform healthcare professionals, healthcare system administrators, teachers and school administrators, parents, community members, policy makers, and others of the strategies for treating suicidal ideation, self-harm, and suicide attempts among youth.

The guide discusses the prevalence of suicide among youth, effective treatment programs, implementation considerations and strategies, and examples of the successful use of programs in clinical and community-based settings. It contains a foreword and five chapters. The chapters stand alone and do not need to be read in order.

The goal of this guide is to review the literature on treatment for suicidal ideation, self-harm, and suicide attempts among youth, distill the research into recommendations for practice, and provide examples of how practitioners can use these practices in their programs. The programs included in this guide focus on adolescents and young adults who are currently experiencing suicidal ideation, self-harm, and/or suicide attempts, and addresses risk factors unique to this population. The programs can be implemented by mental health professionals in a variety of settings, including schools, community mental health centers, residential facilities, or juvenile justice programs.

Photo from the guide cover is courtesy of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).