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Adolescent Suicidality and Homicidality: Who Is at Risk?

Abstract

Suicide and homicide are the second and third leading causes of adolescent mortality in the United States, respectively. Adolescent deaths by these means outnumber all medical causes combined. Suicide and violence prevention begins foremost with an accurate risk assessment. Clinicians, educators, and public officials can significantly improve their effectiveness in adolescent risk assessment through focusing on several key tenets. Key risk factors for both suicide and homicide include the presence of demographic variables, psychiatric diagnoses, and psychosocial stressors. Protective factors, such as strong family cohesion, help-seeking behavior, and resilience, are also key to the assessment. Inquiry into the adolescent’s current mental status and interviewer comfort in performing such an inquiry is also important. As firearms are the leading means of death in both adolescent suicide and homicide, risk assessment is paramount in efforts towards adolescent gun violence prevention.

Keywords

  • Adolescent suicide
  • adolescent homicide
  • risk assessment
  • risk factors
  • mental illness

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Bjorkman, C., Rice, T. (2021). Adolescent Suicidality and Homicidality: Who Is at Risk?. In: Dodson, N.A. (eds) Adolescent Gun Violence Prevention. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-84710-4_8

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