A Introduction: Youth Suicide, a Global Public Health Crisis
Suicide among youth is a major public health concern globally. According to the WHO, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the world for 10–29-year-olds. It is important to recognize that young people are more likely to die by suicide than by any other single medical illness, underscoring the need for increased emphasis on medical education regarding suicide and the potential lifesaving impact of identification and effective care for youths with elevated suicide risk. Because suicidal ideation and behavior tend to have their first onsets during adolescence, this developmental period may offer an important window of opportunity to prevent the development of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, which lead to elevated risk of premature death, mental health and functioning problems, and psychological pain and distress.
Among the 40 countries with national suicide prevention plans, many address youth suicide utilizing a public health approach that includes universal education about mental health, suicide risk factors, and warning signs, and how to change culture and stigma particularly surrounding help seeking. Additionally, targeted efforts are underway to augment peer support training, engage high risk populations, and better prepare health professionals and systems to appropriately identify and care for youth at risk for suicide.