Professional Resources

Screening Resources from TeenScreen (Columbia University)

In December 2012, the TeenScreen National Center at Columbia University closed. Many schools and agencies in Pennsylvania have used the various screening tools available from TeenScreen over the years, especially in their youth suicide prevention efforts. The TeenScreen tools are currently still available on their website. In addition, below are links to three questionnaire starter kits:

Pediatric System Checklist for Youth (PSC-Y, broad mental health checkup screening)

Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9, depression screening)

CRAFFT Screening Questionnaire (substance use screening)

Professional Organizations

American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Leading national professional medical association dedicated to treating and improving the quality of life for children, adolescents, and families affected by these disorders. Established in 1953 as a membership based organization, composed of over 7,500 child and adolescent psychiatrists and other interested physicians. Members actively research, evaluate, diagnose, and treat psychiatric disorders and pride themselves on giving direction to and responding quickly to new developments in addressing the health care needs of children and their families.

American Association of Suicidology: Membership organization for all those involved in suicide prevention and intervention, or touched by suicide. AAS is a leader in the advancement of scientific and programmatic efforts in suicide prevention through research, education and training, the development of standards and resources, and survivor support services.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: At the forefront of a wide range of suicide prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from suicide; investing in groundbreaking research, new educational campaigns, innovative demonstration programs and critical policy work; expanding assistance to people whose lives have been affected by suicide, reaching out to offer support and offering opportunities to become involved in prevention.

American Psychiatric Association: Medical specialty society recognized world-wide; over 38,000 U.S. and international member physicians work together to ensure humane care and effective treatment for all persons with mental disorder, including mental retardation and substance-related disorders. Vision is a society that has available, accessible quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.

American Psychological Association: Largest association of pscyhologists worldwide with 148,000 members; scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States; mission to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. Section on suicide and suicide prevention.

Harvard School of Public Health “Means Matter”: Focuses on how a person attempts suicide, which plays a key role in whether they live or die.

Mental Health America: Country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives; more than 320 affiliates nationwide. 

Search Institute: Provides leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities. Drawing on extensive research, brings hopeful solutions to pressing challenges in the lives of young people and their communities. The Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets® are common sense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults. 

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC): Provides prevention support, training, and resources to assist organizations and individuals to develop suicide prevention programs, interventions and policies, and to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.Well Aware: Works to bring the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, first released in 2001 from the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, to reality. Centered on strategic communications, and applying this to advance awareness, knowledge and practice so as to reduce suicide in America.

Information for Physicians

Children’s Mental Health in Primary Care: by the American Academy of Pediatrics

Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior with Antidepressant Treatment: Reanalysis of the Randomized Pacebo-Controlled Studies of Fluoxetine and Venlafaxine, Archives of General Psychiatry, February 2012. Several years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a black box warning for antidepressants and suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and young adults. This article reports on a study to determine the short-term safety of antidepressants by standard assessments of suicidal thoughts and behavior in youth, adult, and geriatric populations and the mediating effect of changes in depressive symptoms.

 Evaluation and Treatment of Patients with Suicidal Ideation (from American Family Physician): “Suicidal ideation is more common than completed suicide. Most persons who commit suicide have a psychiatric disorder at the time of death. Because many patients with psychiatric disorders are seen by family physicians and other primary care practitioners rather than by psychiatrists, it is important that these practitioners recognize the signs and symptoms of the psychiatric disorders (particularly alcohol abuse and major depression) that are associated with suicide. Although most patients with suicidal ideation do not ultimately commit suicide, the extent of suicidal ideation must be determined, including the presence of a suicide plan and the patient’s means to commit suicide.”

Information for Physicians from the Suicide and Mental Health Association International (SMHAI)

What to Do When Someone is Suicidal (from the Mayo Clinic)

Responding to Suicide Survivors (from Suicide Awareness Voices of Education—SAVE)

Addressing Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors: Treatment Improvement Protocol #50 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—SAMHSA)

Webinar, “Pharmacological Management of Adolescent Depression in Primary Care,” by Dr. David Brent, child psychiatrist at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians and available for one hour of Patient Safety CME.

Clinical Report: The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families, Pediatrics, April 2011. Published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Information for Schools

At-Risk for Middle School Educators, and At-Risk for High School Educators, from Kognito Interactive, online interactive gatekeeper training programs that teach educators and staff how to (1) identify students exhibiting signs of psychological distress, including depression and thoughts of suicide, (2) approach students to discuss their concern, and (3) make a referral to school support personnel.

NEW! The Role of High School Teachers in Preventing Suicide, from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, September 2012

NEW! The Role of School Mental Health Providers in Preventing Suicide, from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, September 2012

Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schoolsfrom the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Assists high schools and school districts in designing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health. Includes tools to implement a multi-faceted suicide prevention program that responds to the needs and cultures of students.

Suicide Prevention Resources for the Pennsylvania Department of Educationespecially featuring free school personnel training programs

After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools, from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2011; includes an overview of key considerations, general guidelines for action, do’s and don’ts, templates and sample materials, in an easily-accessible format.

Resources for School Health and Mental Health Care Providers (from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center)

Suicide Prevention for Schools from the Suicide and Mental Health Association International (SMHAI)

The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) has created and will make available to school-based professionals aSchool-Based Prevention Accreditation Program. The program provides an extensive Resource Guide and Recommended Readings to help prepare school-based professionals working with students at risk and/or charged with implementing a school suicide prevention program to achieve and demonstrate knowledge competencies in 16 content domains of relevance to better serving these aims. Note: This program has been added to the Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention (October 1, 2010).

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has developed More Than Sad: Suicide Prevention Education for Teachers and Other School Personnel, designed to help educators better understand suicidal behavior in adolescents, including its causes, treatment and prevention. This program has also been added to the Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention (October 1, 2010).

Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide: Started in 2006 by two fathers who had lost teenaged children to suicide. Core values: Passionate commitment to the value of life; belief in the effectiveness of evidence-based suicide prevention strategies; dedication to removing public stigma about suicide; conviction that accurate information and education about suicide can save lives. Includes sections for teens, parents and educators.

Signs of Suicide Prevention Program (SOS): Program teaches students how to identify the symptoms of depression and suicidality in themselves or their friends, and encourages help-seeking. New for 2011-2012: “SOS Friends for Life: Preventing Teen Suicide DVD. Program overview and registration form.

Pennsylvania General Assembly, House Resolution 980, “promoting youth suicide prevention education for all administrative, teaching and counseling personnel in all public and private high schools in Pennsylvania.”
Related resources, prepared by Tony Salvatore, Montgomery County: A Statewide High School Suicide Prevention Education Program and State School-Related Suicide Prevention Education Programs

Pennsylvania Suicide Research Centers

STAR-Center, University of Pittsburgh: Comprehensive research, treatment, and training center. Funded by the State of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly in 1986 to address adolescent suicide and depression, our program provides individual assessment and treatment to teens who are experiencing depression and suicidality. Provides community education services about depression and suicidality to schools, social service agencies, churches and other organizations that request them.

Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Suicide, University of Pennsylvania: Founded to develop empirically supported therapies for the prevention of suicide attempts in high risk populations. Current research focused on the effectiveness of cognitive therapy interventions administered in community settings.

Selected Handouts from 2008 Pennsylvania Suicide Prevention Conference

Screening for Suicide Risk in the Pediatric Primary Care Settingby Matthew Wintersteen, Ph.D., Jefferson Medical College

Trauma-Informed Care and Youth Suicide Prevention, by Gordon R. Hodas, M.D. 

Attachment-Based Family Therapy for Depressed Adolescents, by Guy Diamond, Ph.D., Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Adolescent Suicide and Two Screening Instruments
, by John Sushereba, M.A., Perseus House, Inc.
TeenScreen (used by permission of Columbia University)
Signs of Suicide (used by permission of Signs of Suicide—SOS)

Suicide Risk Assessment of Rural and Urban Adolescents, by Virginia Biddle, R.N., C.R.N.P., Ph.D., Jefferson Medical College

The Role of Communication in Suicide Prevention and School Crisis Communications, by Mary Margaret Kerr, Ed.D.