Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News


Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News


Article excerpt

When it comes to suicide prevention in youth, we should strive to recognize the maxim that "risk factors are not predictive factors due to protective factors."

At-risk youth are usually pretty easy to identify, as they tend to let you know who they are with disruptive behavior. Of course, there are those at-risk youth who are very quiet and reserved--and so are much harder to identify.

Efforts aimed at screening kids for risk factors are worthwhile. But instead of taking a deficit, disease approach to these young people, we would far better serve them by surrounding them with protective factors to build resiliency.

This includes ensuring that they are enveloped in a social fabric that will look after them and that makes it clear that suicide and suicide attempts are not an acceptable social norm.

Such an approach also includes teaching these young people important social skills, such as affect regulation, that reduce the impulsivity that is characteristic of many adolescent suicide attempts.

And because self-efficacy is a proven protective factor, we should be making sure that these youth have opportunities to participate in activities that will give them a sense of power and mastery so they won't feel helpless when faced with trauma. …

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