Youth Suicide

Working to Predict What Leads to Attempts

Teen and young adult suicides are on the rise; they’re the highest they’ve been since the government began collecting data in 1960. To reverse this grim trend, researchers are trying to understand how to predict such attempts. In JAMA Psychiatry, Pitt psychiatrist Nadine Melthem posits that fluctuations in depression are the best predictor for whether a young person will attempt suicide. “What’s important here is that these are symptoms clinicians are already assessing, or should be assessing,” she says. Looking at the big picture over time rather than individual episodes of depression may then be the key.