Volume 38, Issue 2 (2009)
School-Based Suicide Prevention: Research Advances and Practice Implications
Alan L. Berman
The problem of adolescent suicide has vexed and perplexed social scientists for more than a century. Meeting in his living room in 1910, Sigmund Freud chaired a discussion among a distinguished panel of interdisciplinary scholars from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in an attempt to understand and propose solutions to an observed and alarming increase in suicides among young students (Friedman, 1967; Berman, Jobes, & Silverman, 2006). In the United States, rates of youth suicide dramatically increased between the mid-1950s and the mid-1990s, and since have declined by about a third. We have dozens of hypotheses to explain temporal shifts in the epidemiology of youth suicide, but little in the way of evidence-based findings to inform evidence-based prevention programs that would allow us to gain some degree of control over these phenomena.
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