AAP Urges Pediatricians to Screen Teens for Suicide Risk Factors

Identifying environmental factors that put teens at risk for suicidal behavior is crucial.
Identifying environmental factors that put teens at risk for suicidal behavior is crucial.

HealthDay News — Suicide is the second leading cause of death among U.S. teens, and health care providers should screen teen patients for suicide risks, according to a report published online June 27 in Pediatrics.

Suicide was the third leading cause of teen deaths in 2007, but has since passed homicide to become second. Unintentional injuries such as drug overdoses and vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths.

Teen suicide rates may have increased due to factors such as stress and anger triggered by electronic media, and a reluctance to use antidepressants, according to report author Benjamin Shain, MD, PhD, head of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NorthShore University HealthSystem in Chicago, USA Today reported.

Teen suicide risk factors that physicians should screen for include a history of physical or sexual abuse, bullying, substance abuse, mood disorders, and being lesbian, gay, or bisexual, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Reference

Shain B, Committee on Adolescence. Suicide and suicide attempts in adolescents. Pediatrics. 2016. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-1420.

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