Evidence-Based Interventions for Youth Suicide Risk


Purpose of Review

To review and discuss recent advances in evidence-based interventions (EBIs) for youth suicide risk.

Recent Findings

There is a growing body of research on the effectiveness of interventions targeting suicidal ideation and behavior among adolescents. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy-Adolescent has shown effectiveness across two independent randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Several other interventions have shown effectiveness in only one trial and are in need of replication. New interventions are also being developed that incorporate developments in technology and adaptive intervention designs. It is recommended that future research focus on strategies for engaging underserved youth with interventions, consider the broader needs of youth living in poverty, and further tailor interventions to subgroups with distinct risk profiles. Limited EBIs exist for preadolescents, despite evidence for an increasing rate of suicidal behavior for these youth.


Several interventions for youth suicide risk are highly promising, but further investigation is necessary. EBIs that are effective for preadolescents are needed, and greater efforts to tailor interventions for distinct subgroups of youth at risk are recommended.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Correspondence to Cheryl A. King.

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Conflict of Interest

Danielle R. Busby, Claire Hatkevich, and Taylor C. McGuire each declare no potential conflicts of interest. Cheryl A. King has received consultancy fees from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Advisory Mental Health Council, grants from the NIMH, honoraria payments from Florida International University, Duke University, Indiana University School of Medicine, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, West Virginia University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. King has also received book royalties from Guilford Publications and paid travel accommodations from Florida International University, Duke University, Indiana University, Mayo Clinic, West Virginia University, University of Pittsburgh, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association.

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Busby, D.R., Hatkevich, C., McGuire, T.C. et al. Evidence-Based Interventions for Youth Suicide Risk. Curr Psychiatry Rep 22, 5 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-020-1129-6

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  • Suicide risk
  • Youth
  • Interventions
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors