Suicide-prevention approaches that target all high school students within a school, rather than just high-risk teenagers, might be overestimating the percentage of at-risk youths, concludes a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
For the study, 1,323 students from 10 unidentified high schools completed a suicide-risk screen. According to the results, 29 percent of the students were rated at risk of suicide, on the basis of high levels of depression, suicidal ideation, or suicidal behavior. Because of this unusually high percentage, the schools discontinued use of the screenings after two semesters. The study concludes that a simpler, more specific screening tool would be better to target potentially suicidal teenagers.