The Key Role of Schools in Youth Suicide Prevention

Published in: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (2022). doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2022.06.022

Posted on RAND.org on December 07, 2022

by Lynsay Ayer, Lisa Colpe

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for youth and families dealing with remote school and work, lack of childcare, and social isolation over the course of 2 years. In response, the US Surgeon General recently published an advisory warning of a mental health crisis among youth, noting that youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities, racial/ethnic and sexual/gender minority youth, and youth in low-income, rural, and immigrant households were at higher risk of mental health challenges in the pandemic. The advisory arrived on the heels of an emergency declaration about child and adolescent mental health put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Children's Hospital Association in October 2021. Both emphasize that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated already growing youth mental health concerns and highlight the key role schools must play in preventing youth suicide. In this commentary, we make the case for why we need schools to be in the business of youth suicide prevention.

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