suicide: recent publications

The Reality of One in Five Students Contemplating Suicide: I Was That One

As a parent of adult children, the month of September now begins without much fanfare. Whereas this month used to usher in the bustle of a new school year, these days it often starts on a much quieter note. I admittedly don’t give the month the recognition I used to because those school days are behind us now, both my children’s and my own. As I laid in bed this morning, sleepily scrolling through Facebook, I was swiftly reminded that it was now September by a simple post that said:

“Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

One in five. That’s how many students experience suicidal thoughts. Let’s talk about it.”

That simple blurb stopped my scrolling and started me thinking back to when I was a student. Not that those around me knew, but I was that one in five.

Back when I was a teenager, if you asked anyone on the outside looking in, including classmates, friends, teammates, teachers, and neighbors, they probably would have told you that I was one of the last people they’d ever imagine being suicidal.

I wouldn’t have considered myself one of the more popular kids in school, but I was friends with them. I was friends with a lot of people. I never had any issues with bullying or anything of that sort. I was in advanced classes and got great grades. I tried out for and had made the high school cheerleading squads starting in 8th grade because I was already taking a few high school courses. I had been a roaming reporter for our school’s morning video news broadcasts, recording lighthearted and fun clips with teachers and students alike. I had a steady high school boyfriend who I began dating in middle school and would be my high school sweetheart throughout the rest of my school years.

To those on the outside looking in, I

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AAP Recommends Mental Health Screening for All U.S. Youth
June 22, 2022Pediatricians should perform mental health screenings on all children and adolescents, evaluating for depression, anxiety, and suicide risk, says a new draft recommendation issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).1 A response to the growing mental health crisis among youth, this AAP guidance recommends screening adolescents ages 12 and up for major depressive disorder and youths ages 8 and up for anxiety, even in the absence of documented symptoms.Earlier this year, the AAP recommended universal screening for all kids age 12 and older for suicide risk; for kids aged eight 8 to 11, screening was recommended only when “clinically indicated,” such as when warning signs were present.John Piacentini, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA, called the AAP draft recommendation important because “anxiety in children is often less easily identified than other disorders, such as ADHD, which can delay treatment.” Left untreated, he said, anxiety is associated with increased risk of depression, self-harm, substance use, and other health risks in later life.The AAP joined the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in drafting the screening recommendations and in noting a need for further research on evaluating younger children for mental health conditions.