Suicide Prevention among High School Students: Evaluation of a Nonrandomized Trial of a Multi-Stage Suicide Screening Program

Torcasso G, Hilt LM.

Self Harm/Suicide.
Interrupted time series.

Journal Information

Child and youth care forum
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Background Suicide is a leading cause of death among youth. Suicide screening programs aim to identify mental health issues and prevent death by suicide. Objective The present study evaluated outcomes of a multi-stage screening program implemented over 3 school years in a moderately-sized Midwestern high school. Methods One hundred ninety-three 9th-grade students were screened in the program. Students who screened positive were referred to mental health services and followed. Suicide-related thoughts and behaviors among 9th-grade students in the school with screening were compared to those of students in a similar school without screening. Results There was a significant increase in utilization of mental health services among students who screened positive and a decrease in rates of suicidal ideation and attempts among 9th-grade students at the school with screening. Conclusions This multi-stage screening program shows promise in addressing suicide-related behaviors in schools. Randomized trials are needed to confirm program efficacy.
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