Teen suicide is a growing health concern. It is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, surpassed only by homicide and accidents, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Every day, about 12 youth die by suicide. For every adolescent death by suicide you hear about, about 25 suicide attempts are made. These are staggering statistics.
We know that families, schools, peer groups, and communities are dramatically impacted when young people engage in suicidal behavior. Youth suicide might be prevented by earlier recognition and treatment of mental illness. Family physicians can and should screen for mental illness in youth; there are many diagnostic and treatment resources available to assist with this. Earlier detection and treatment of mental illness are the most important ways family physicians can reduce morbidity and mortality for youth who are contemplating suicide.