Adolescent Depression and Suicide Risk: How Social Workers Can Make a Difference

Sharon Issurdatt Dietsche, LICSW, LCSW-C

Behavioral Health, School Social Work

Practice Perspectives


The suicides of many young people have made national headlines over recent months. In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24 (NIMH, 2010). Due to a growing effort to raise awareness and reduce stigma regarding adolescent depression and suicide, more attention has been focused on these mental health issues ranging from local efforts to national agendas. One of the goals of the national initiative, Healthy People 2010, has been to reduce the number of teen suicide attempts. The aim is to reduce the percentage of youth who report suicide attempts requiring medical attention from a twelve-month average of 2.6 percent in 1999, to 1.0 percent by 2010 (Child Trends Databank, 2010). Further information on the attainment of this goal will reveal if these efforts have been successful.

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