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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Youth suicide: Results of a pilot violent death surveillance system

Erica S. Gelven, PhD1, Romi A. Webster, MD, MPH2, Judy Schaechter, MD3, Deborah Kacanek, ScD4, Catherine W. Barber, MPA4, and NVISS Work Group5. (1) Injury Prevention Center, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, 282 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106, (860) 545-8815, egelven@ccmckids.org, (2) Primary Care Center, Children's Hospital Boston, Hunnewell Ground, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, (3) Department of Pediatrics/Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of Miami, P.O. Box 016820 (D-820), Miami, FL 33101, (4) Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave., Kresge Building, 3rd Floor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Boston, MA 02115, (5) Various institutions, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Americans aged 10-17. Understanding the circumstances that precede a child’s suicide—including their mental health and treatment status, toxicologic screen results, and triggering circumstances—will inform prevention strategies. Objective: To describe the victim and incident characteristics as well as precipitating circumstances in youth suicide. Methods: We performed a cross sectional secondary analysis of 2001 data from a pilot for the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), using information from coroner/medical examiner and police reports and death certificates. Results: Data from four states and two metropolitan areas were available on 1,614 suicide victims; 83 were age 17 or under. Among the youth, males predominated (82%). Most teens used hanging (47%) or firearms (42%). Of the 26 firearm suicides where the owner of the firearm was known, 21 (80%) belonged to the victim s parent. Victims disclosed their intent to someone in 29% of cases. However, only 17% had a documented history of prior attempt, and 36% were known to have been treated for a mental health problem. 31% of the teen suicides had a documented same-day crisis. Relationship (56%) and school problems (34%) were important precipitating circumstances. Conclusions: The above data suggests opportunities for primary prevention by decreasing children s access to firearms and for secondary prevention when children express suicidal ideation. However, the relative impulsivity, lack of a documented history of mental health problems and use of household objects for hanging pose significant prevention challenges.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Keywords: Suicide, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Child and Adolescent Injuries

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA