Pediatric suicide is a public health crisis and according to the CDC, the suicide rate for children and adolescents has increased by 65%.
Pediatric providers are often on the front lines in identifying children and adolescents who may be at risk of suicide. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends universal screening beginning at age ten.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) created a toolkit for providers to assist in screening children for suicide in the pediatric office, Ask Suicide Screening Questions (ASQ).
The ASQ is an evidenced based screening tool for children 8 and older containing 4 yes or no questions developed to assess suicidal ideation and behavior. A positive screen result on the ASQ will flag a patient who needs further risk assessment. The ASQ was developed in the pediatric ED with 96.9% sensitivity, 87.6% specificity, and takes 20 seconds to administer. Providers can visit the NIMH to watch a short video on using the ASQ with children and adolescents. The ASQ toolkit also provides guidance on implanting and intervening with patients in the pediatric office as well as handout for parents.
Firearms and Pediatric Suicide
The CDC reports that approximately 1100 children and adolescents die annually in the United States from suicide by firearm.
ZERO Suicide in Health and Behavioral Healthcare provides resources to address suicide risk during COVID-19 as well as toolkits to intervene in different healthcare settings.
Be Smart is an organization that assists parents and adults in engaging in conversations about gun safety with children and provides education around reducing gun suicides and fatalities.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Suicide Resource Center offers information for providers about suicide. The website also provides fact sheets for parents and adolescents to answer their questions about suicide and resources for youth on the importance of getting help.
Everytown for Gun Safety is a website the provides information about research on gun violence in the United States.
Visit the Illinois DocAssist Crisis Resources to learn more about resources for patients and families.