Suicidality in Adolescents

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15-21. Bullying, substance abuse, and underlying mood disorders can compound risk during the adolescent years, and all signs and symptoms should be taken seriously, including passive statements, such as “I shouldn’t have been born.”

Although terrifying for family members, the good news is that, with appropriate treatment, most individuals who experience suicidal ideation go on to live full lives.

The gold standard of treatment for teens experiencing suicidality is Dialectical Behavior Therapy for adolescents (DBT). For at-risk teens, it is of critical importance that the full DBT model is delivered in a manner consistent with the research; this includes a parent-and-teen skills class, individual and family psychotherapy, and skills coaching.