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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Volume 31, Issue 4


Adolescent suicide as a global public health issue

Zebib K. Abraham
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 1 Gustave L. Levy Place, NY 10029, USA, Phone: +212-241-6500
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Leo Sher
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
  • James J. Peters Veterans’ Administration Medical Center, New York, NY, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-07-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0036


Youth suicide is a major global mental health problem. This review looks at the epidemiology, risk and protective factors associated with youth suicide, and global strategies to address this important issue. To better understand factors contributing to youth suicide, global gender differences in suicide were examined. Global rates of suicide amongst young men are higher than young women. However, there are anomalously higher rates of female youth suicide in India and China, and possible causes of this are examined further. It is likely that underestimation of youth suicide is a major factor affecting the accuracy of suicide epidemiology. Risk factors for youth suicide are varied. Psychiatric factors include various psychiatric illnesses, substance use (particularly amongst refugee and homeless youth). Psychosocial risk factors include family conflict, physical and sexual childhood abuse, isolation, socioeconomic disadvantage, discrimination and acculturation. Vulnerable populations are at increased risk, including refugee/immigrant/indigenous youth, those in foster care and homeless youth. Protective factors can include family cohesion and strong interpersonal relationships, as well as increased access to care. Global strategies to prevent youth suicide include reducing lethal means to suicide and reducing harmful media reporting. Various psychosocial interventions may be helpful, including individual support, and family, school and community based interventions. Strategies can also increase evaluation of psychiatric disorders and access to care, as well as promote psycho-education and reduce stigma against mental illness.

Keywords: global mental health; prevention strategies; risk factors; vulnerable populations; youth suicide


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About the article

Received: 2017-02-23

Accepted: 2017-04-07

Published Online: 2017-07-07

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, Volume 31, Issue 4, 20170036, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0036.

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