Advancing Research in Child Suicide

A Call to Action

Published in: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 59, Issue 9, pages 1028–1035 (September 2020). doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2020.02.010

Posted on on June 22, 2022

by Lynsay Ayer, Lisa Colpe, Jane L. Pearson, Mary Rooney, Eric Murphy

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To highlight the problem of child suicide, summarize what is known and not known about the problem in the empirical literature, and provide recommendations with ethical considerations for future research and practice.


The development of this paper was informed by a meeting of national experts on the topic hosted by the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as by a review of the empirical literature.


We know something about demographic characteristics that are related to higher child suicide rates, but beyond that we know relatively little about risk factors, prevention, and intervention for suicide risk in children <12 years. It is important for child suicide researchers and practitioners to pay particular attention to ethical issues that may be likely to arise in doing this type of work.


Much more research is needed on child suicide in the areas of measurement, prevention, and intervention in order to advance the field and provide practitioners with the tools that they critically need.

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