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Posted: November 16th, 2022

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10-24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control (2020), with many adolescents attempting but failing to commit suicide. Bridge et al. (2018) discovered that the suicide rate among Black children under the age of 13 was double that of white children in the same age group. Adverse childhood events, discrimination or prejudice, a family history of suicide, being bullied, and chronic medical conditions such as epilepsy and chronic pain are all risk factors for suicidal ideation in children (Middleton, 2021; O’Rourke et al., 2018). Male suicide risk factors include socioeconomic factors such as low income, occupation, and unemployment.
The risk factors for suicidal ideation are classified into four categories: psychological, biological, cognitive, and environmental. These four risk factors interact with one another, influencing the development of suicidal ideation. Because normative events vary by age and developmental level, it is possible to predict certain normative crises or events that may make suicide a more likely choice; an understanding of the life -span is helpful to the cause of suicide. This suicide ideation model provides a framework for systematically examining each life span and assessing a given individual’s suicidal potential as revealed by the model’s variables.
The lifespan developmental theory provides an appropriate framework for understanding why suicidal thoughts and behavior vary with age (Stoliker et al., 2020). This theory contends that late-life suicidal ideation is linked to aging-related restrictions and adversities such as physical illness, interpersonal loss, cognitive impairment, and other age-related changes, with individuals who are unable to adapt being at a higher risk for suicidal ideation. According to research, people aged 60 and up are at the highest risk of suicide-related death in general (Stoliker et al., 2020).
Suicide risk increases in older adults due to factors such as spousal bereavement, functional impairment, physical illness, and social isolation (Conejero et al., 2018). As a result, approaches to preventing suicidal ideation in an individual include encounters in the health care system; this will allow more people to access care for psychiatric problems related to suicide, such as depression. Coordination of care among programs addressing mental health, substance abuse, and physical health can also improve access to care.
Finally, depending on whether the organization is going to provide comprehensive care after the client is found to be at risk, different settings may use different tools. The SAFE-T is one of the most preferred tools in a setting such as an outpatient behavioral health care clinic. It provides a comprehensive assessment of the nature and scope of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This tool may be the most important for older and aging adults because it focuses on four major items: ideation, plan, behaviors, and intent. The Columbia-Suicide Severity Rate Scale (C-SSRS) is another tool that can be used with children and adolescents. It is applicable in a variety of settings, including inpatient, medical, and outpatient behavioral health. Its primary goal is to detect suicide attempts as well as the full range of evidence-based behavior and ideation. Furthermore, the Ask Suicide Screening Question (ASQ) toolkit is a validated suicide risk screening tool for medical patients of all ages.
References
J. A. Bridge, L. M. Horowitz, C. A. Fontanella, A. H. Sheftall, J. Greenhouse, K. J. Kelleher, and J. V. Campo. From 2001 to 2015, there was an age-related racial disparity in suicide rates among US youths. 697-699 in JAMA Pediatrics. DOI:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.0399
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Suicide avoidance. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/suicide-prevention
I. Conejero, E. Olié, P. Courtet, and R. Calati Suicide in the elderly: current perspectives Clinical interventions in aging, 13, 691. DOI: 10.2147/CIA.S130670
Horowitz, L. M., Snyder, D. J., Boudreaux, E. D., He, J. P., Harrington, C. J., Cai, J., … & Pao, M. (2020). Validation of the ask suicide-screening questions for adult medical inpatients: a brief tool for all ages. Psychosomatics, 61(6), 713–722. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psym.2020.04.008
Joint Commission. (2018). Suicide prevention resources to support Joint Commission accredited organizations’ implementation of NPSG 15.01. 01, revised November 2018. https://www.jointcommission.org/standards/national-patient-safety-goals/-/media/83ac7352b9ee42c9bda8d70ac2c00ed4.ashx
Middleton, L. J. (2021). Preventing physician suicide. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/collections/taxonomy.suicide-risk-assessment.html
O’Rourke, M. C., Jamil, R. T., & Siddiqui, W. (2018). Suicide screening and prevention. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531453/
Stoliker, B. E., Verdun-Jones, S. N., & Vaughan, A. D. (2020). The relationship between age and suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide among prisoners. Health & Justice, 8(1), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40352-020-00117-3

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