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[psychiatry-research] Who's Minding The Store On Adolescent Suicide?

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  • Ian Pitchford
    Who s Minding The Store On Adolescent Suicide? While primary care providers are in a unique position to help prevent adolescent suicide, most don t routinely
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 18, 2000
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      Who's Minding The Store On Adolescent Suicide?

      While primary care providers are in a unique position to help prevent
      adolescent suicide, most don't routinely screen their young patients for
      suicidal behavior or associated mental and physical risk factors, according
      to researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

      The study was published in the February 2000 issue of the Archives of
      Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

      Suicide is the third leading cause of mortality among persons ages 10 to 19,
      following motor vehicle crashes and homicide. Senior author Diane
      Frankenfield, DrPH stated, "Primary care providers may be the sole source of
      medical care for this population and thus could serve a ‘gatekeeper' role in
      identifying and referring high-risk youths and families.

      "We recommend that physicians screen their adolescent patients for
      psychosocial problems at all visits to ensure no missed opportunity." (Over
      70 percent of young people ages 10 to 19 see a physician at least once a
      year.)

      In May 1995, researchers mailed a questionnaire to all currently practicing
      pediatricians and family physicians on the mailing lists of the Maryland
      chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of
      Family Physicians.

      The questions concerned physicians' impressions of the prevalence of
      adolescent suicidal behavior; whether the physicians screened for individual
      suicidal risk factors or counseled patients about injury prevention; and
      whether barriers existed to physician intervention. Sixty-six percent of
      those surveyed -- 693 physicians -- responded.

      "Our most startling findings," according to co-author Susan Baker, MPH,
      professor at the Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins School
      of Public Health, "were that 47 percent of these physicians reported that one
      or more of their adolescent patients had attempted suicide in the previous
      year, and that only 23 percent screened for risk factors for suicide."

      Despite the substantial proportion of primary care providers who had
      encountered suicidal adolescent patients, over 75 percent of them still did
      not routinely screen their patients for suicidal behavior and associated risk
      factors, such as depression, substance abuse or a history of physical abuse.

      Seventy-two percent of physicians did report that they were interested in
      receiving more training on preventing adolescent suicide.

      Funding for this study was provided by The Center for Injury Research and
      Policy.

      18-Feb-2000
      http://unisci.com/stories/20001/0218005.htm
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