An independent panel called by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created a 10 year blueprint for advancing research to prevent youth suicide. The panel listed 29 recommendations that focus on three major issues: improving data systems, enhancing data collection and analysis techniques, as well as strengthening the research and practice community.
“The complexity of suicide prevention must be embraced in order to forge new research strategies,” said Dr. Todd Little, professor of educational psychology and leadership at Texas Tech University, Lubbock.
In order to help bridge research gaps linked to youth suicide and to judge the scientific evidence, NIH convened the Pathways to Prevention Workshop back in March. After a panel visited the workshop and created a report, they concluded that the following issues need the most attention over the next decade:
- The need for surveillance by linking data from various sources.
- The need to improve measurement across diverse populations and time scales of personal characteristics such as sexual orientation and identity, and environmental contexts that have been linked to suicide risk.
- The need to help practitioners identify effective suicide prevention programs
- The need for coordinated education and training opportunities for health providers, schools, agencies, families, and communities to remove the stigma associated with suicide.
More than 42,000 Americans die from suicide each year, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death in young adults. Risk factors such as depression, other mental disorders, and drug use, along with relationship loss or disruption, can also add to suicidal behavior. A person’s surroundings can also add negativity and encourage suicidal tendencies.
“Panel develops plan for preventing youth suicide,” National Institutes of Health web site, October 4 2016; https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/panel-develops-plan-preventing-youth-suicide