National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Washington, DC)
Youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system, especially those in residential facilities, have higher rates of suicide than their non-system-involved peers … Suicide prevention efforts by this system should begin at the initial point of entry and be coordinated to protect youth at every step along the way … This report addresses performance-based standards for juvenile correction and detention facilities and describes a comprehensive suicide prevention program for juvenile facilities (p. 1). The components that comprise this program need to include: training; identification, referral, and evaluation; communication; housing (safe environment); levels of observation, follow-up, and treatment planning; intervention (emergency response); reporting and notification; and mortality-morbidity review.
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).
This is the place to start if you are looking for information about preventing justice-involved youth from committing suicide. The summary provides a great introduction to the wealth of resources available from this Youth in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System Task Force. Sections comprising this publication include: introduction; background of and an overview of the resources from this Task Force; Public Awareness and Education Workgroup; Suicide Research Workgroup; Suicide Prevention Programming and Training Workgroup; Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Systems Collaboration Workgroup; and major findings from the above four workgroups.
Identifying suicide risk among young people is a critical component of the comprehensive approach that the juvenile justice system must adopt to prevent suicide. Ideally, this identification is done with research-based screening and assessment instruments. To select effective instruments, it is necessary to be aware of the juvenile justice system’s responsibilities in preventing suicide, the contexts in which screening and assessment instruments are used, current standards for screening instruments and assessment tools used in mental health and juvenile justice settings, and specific instruments that are available to advance suicide prevention efforts. These facets of suicide prevention are explored in this paper (p. 1). Sections of this publication include: introduction; measuring suicide risk; screening and assessment procedures; current standards for instrument selection; four screening tools; five assessment tools; implementation of suicide risk screening and assessment; and conclusion.
What is currently known about suicidal ideation and behavior among youth involved in the juvenile justice system is reported. "Based on findings of this review, between 13,500 and 20,600 detainees may have considered suicide in the past year and 11,000 delinquent youth may have attempted suicide in the past year. With proper screening and intervention, these estimates can be lessened and the risk of suicide among this vulnerable population can be minimized" (p. 10). Sections of this report include: introduction; findings from the first national survey on juvenile suicide in confinement (2009); suicidal ideation and behavior among youth in the juvenile justice system; review methodology; results according to recent, past-year, and lifetime suicidal ideation, suicidal behavior (attempts), or gender and ethnic disparities in suicidal ideation and behavior; variables associated with suicidal ideation and behavior; discussion about prevalence of and associated variables for suicidal ideation and behavior; and six recommendations for future research. An appendix shows "Studies of Prevalence of Suicide Ideation and Behavior among Youth in the Juvenile Justice System" organized according to studies of youth sampled at post-arrest, intake to detention, in detention, post-adjudication, at different points of contact in the juvenile justice system, or undefined.
“This task force was established in June 2011 to focus attention on the needs of youth in the juvenile justice system, particularly in the areas of suicide-related awareness and education, suicide research, suicide prevention programming and training, and collaboration between the juvenile justice and mental health systems. Below, organized by workgroup, are the resources developed to provide findings, recommendations, and practical tools for juvenile justice and mental health administrators and staff.” These workgroups and related publications are: 1: Public Awareness and Education—“Need to Know: A Fact Sheet Series on Juvenile Suicide” (one each for court judges and staff, juvenile detention and secure care staff, and juvenile probation staff); 2: Suicide Research—“ Suicidal Ideation and Behavior among Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: A Review of the Literature”, and “Screening and Assessment for Suicide Prevention: Tools and Procedures for Risk Identification and Risk Reduction among Juvenile Justice Youth”; 3: Suicide Prevention Programming and Training—“ Guide to Developing and Revising Suicide Prevention Protocols for Youth in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System”; and 4: Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Systems Collaboration—“ Preventing Juvenile Suicide through Improved Collaboration: Strategies for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Agencies (Summary). The “Executive Summary: Preventing Suicide Working With Youth Who Are Justice Involved” is also provided.