An article published by Reuters this January of 2015 cited some important research conclusions about lowering teen suicide risk. Past research-based findings regarding effective prevention programs have led to conflicting results. Oftentimes the impulsive nature of youth suicides can make the prediction of it rather difficult.
That said, recent research gives us cause to be optimistic as a new study demonstrated how European teenagers were about half as likely to attempt suicide or to feel suicidal after a school-based prevention program was implemented. The researchers remarked, “At three months, none of the programs showed a significant effect. After a year, however, schools with the Youth Aware of Mental Health program had half as many suicide attempts and reports of suicidal ideation as the comparison schools with no intervention.”
It is unfortunate that such school-based programs are not more mainstream internationally as suicide remains the 3rd leading cause of death for those 10-24 years of age. Many factors may play into our youth’s increased vulnerability. This can include the tunnel vision of having less life experience, substance use, and brain development. Vulnerability increases if one is part of a high-risk population like those who experience a mental illness, those who are GLTBQ, someone with a history of suicide attempts, individuals bereaved of suicide, etc.
Safeguarding our youth has to become a priority if we are to combat the global public health problem that is suicide.