Why does Pediatric & Adolescent Health Partners ask our 12 year and older patients on their annual Preventive Care Visits about suicide??

1. We do this because teenage suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youthaged 10 to 24 years. In fact, in 2013, more kids died from suicide than from 7 other leading causes of death (HIV, Infection, Diabetes, Pneumonia, Stroke, Heart Disease, Cancer) combined. In that same year, there were over 1,000 suicides in Virginia, the highest rate in 13 years and this included 131 adolescents.

2. We do this because in the US, 2 million young people attempt suicide every year. An estimated additional 2.5 million high school students “seriously consider suicide,” and of those, 2 million high school students may make an actual plan to kill themselves.

3. We do this because Suicide risk is difficult to identify: 85% of suicide attempters do not share their thoughts and over 80% of teens that have killed themselves had contact with a medical professional months before they died.

This is why we, as doctors and nurses, need to ask our patients about suicidal thoughts. If we identify those at risk and get them the help they need, we can reduce this staggering rate of suicides.

We thank you for your help and support as we try to protect all of our patients from any preventable disease or problem.