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Preventing Juvenile Suicide through Improved Collaboration: Strategies for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Agencies

Recommendations are presented for effectively preventing suicide among youth in the juvenile justice system. These can be successfully achieved through the combined collaboration of juvenile justice, law enforcement, mental health, substance abuse, child welfare, and education agencies and organizations. Sections of this report include: introduction; overview of 10 overarching priorities; overview of 12 strategies; overarching priorities and related strategies to improve collaboration in detail; "Matrix of Overarching Priorities and Strategies"; conclusion; and "Appendix A: Environmental Scanning Tool". "In recognition of the higher rate of suicide and suicidal behaviors among youth involved in the juvenile justice system who have mental health disorders, substance abuse disorders, and other relevant risk factors for suicide (e.g., a history of child sexual and physical abuse and other forms of trauma), it is urgent that all youth-serving systems effectively collaborate across all levels of government. This collaboration will likely save the lives of vulnerable youth by creating opportunities to intervene prior to the youth engaging in suicidal behavior and greatly enhance the provision of appropriate and effective supports and services. Implementing the strategies recommended in this paper will enable systems and practitioners to reduce the risk of youth suicide while achieving the collaborations necessary for sustained positive suicide prevention strategies" (p. 18).