Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide: Volume 1: Overview and Recommendations   [open pdf - 6MB]

"The suicide rate for young people between ages 15 and 24 almost tripled during the past 30 years. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for young people in this age group. This sharp increase in suicide rates in one segment of the population, especially when rates for most other causes of death were decreasing in the United States, prompted the Secretary of Health and Human Services to organize a task force to investigate this pressing problem. The task force was charged with investigating what could be done to prevent youth suicide. In the past, suicide had traditionally been considered a mental health problem of older adults. Its prevention was based on the detection and treatment of psychological illness in adults, most commonly depression. Beginning in 1980, however, more than half of all suicides occurred among persons under the age of 40. In addition, evidence suggested that depression was less frequently associated with suicide in young people than adults. In light of these findings, what reason was there to think that prevention based on detecting and treating depressed adults could work for nondepressed young people? Few research studies had examined suicide and suicide prevention in young people; nor was it known whether inferences drawn from research on adults could be applied to youth. The major functions of the task force were to review, assess, and consolidate the available information about suicide; provide forums for communication among health care professionals, educators, researchers, social service workers, and families; and recommend activities to address the problem. The task force was also charged with coordinating suicide activities among Federal agencies, Congress, State and local governments, private agencies, and professional organizations."

Report Number:
Department of Health and Human Services Publication No. (ADM) 89-1621
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: https://www.ncjrs.gov/
Media Type:
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