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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2002 February;54(1):41-52

language: English

The role of the pediatrician in preventing suicidal behavior

Borowsky I. W.


Suicidality is a serious cause of morbidity and mortality among young people. Important risk factors for suicidal behavior are mental illness, alcohol and other substance use disorders, previous suicide attempt, impulsive and/or aggressive behavior, history of abuse, and access to lethal means. Emotional well-being and connectedness to family and school act to buffer or protect young people from involvement in self-directed violence. Pediatricians can play a major role in suicide prevention by identifying emotional and behavioral problems and intervening appropriately, promoting positive parenting skills and family cohesion, and providing injury prevention education to reduce access to lethal means. As part of a comprehensive strategy to prevent youth suicidal behavior, child health professionals are uniquely positioned to promote resiliency among youth and families as well as identify and provide appropriate treatment and service coordination for risk factors before injuries occur. Adequate training is critical to ensure that pediatricians are prepared to provide effective assessment, prevention and intervention for suicidal behavior.

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