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Service Use by At-Risk Youths After School-Based Suicide Screening

  • Madelyn S. Gould
    Correspondence
    Correspondence to Madelyn S. Gould, Ph.D., M.P.H., New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032
    Affiliations
    Dr. Gould is with Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute; Drs. Marrocco and Hoagwood are with Columbia University; and Ms. Kleinman, Ms. Altschuler, and Ms. Amakawa are with the New York State Psychiatric Institute
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  • Frank A. Marrocco
    Affiliations
    Dr. Gould is with Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute; Drs. Marrocco and Hoagwood are with Columbia University; and Ms. Kleinman, Ms. Altschuler, and Ms. Amakawa are with the New York State Psychiatric Institute
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  • Kimberly Hoagwood
    Affiliations
    Dr. Gould is with Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute; Drs. Marrocco and Hoagwood are with Columbia University; and Ms. Kleinman, Ms. Altschuler, and Ms. Amakawa are with the New York State Psychiatric Institute
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  • Marjorie Kleinman
    Affiliations
    Dr. Gould is with Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute; Drs. Marrocco and Hoagwood are with Columbia University; and Ms. Kleinman, Ms. Altschuler, and Ms. Amakawa are with the New York State Psychiatric Institute
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  • Lia Amakawa
    Affiliations
    Dr. Gould is with Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute; Drs. Marrocco and Hoagwood are with Columbia University; and Ms. Kleinman, Ms. Altschuler, and Ms. Amakawa are with the New York State Psychiatric Institute
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  • Elizabeth Altschuler
    Affiliations
    Dr. Gould is with Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute; Drs. Marrocco and Hoagwood are with Columbia University; and Ms. Kleinman, Ms. Altschuler, and Ms. Amakawa are with the New York State Psychiatric Institute
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      Objective

      We sought to examine follow-up service use by students identified at risk for suicidal behavior in a school-based screening program and assess barriers to seeking services as perceived by youths and parents.

      Method

      We conducted a longitudinal study of 317 at-risk youths identified by a school-based suicide screening in six high schools in New York State. The at-risk teenagers and their parents were interviewed approximately 2 years after the initial screen to assess service use during the intervening period and identify barriers that may have interfered with seeking treatment.

      Results

      At the time of the screening, 72% of the at-risk students were not receiving any type of mental health service. Of these students, 51% were deemed in need of services and subsequently referred by us to a mental health professional. Nearly 70% followed through with the screening's referral recommendations. The youths and their parents reported perceptions about mental health problems, specifically relating to the need for treatment, as the primary reasons for not seeking service.

      Conclusions

      Screening seems to be effective in enhancing the likelihood that students at risk for suicidal behavior will get into treatment. Well-developed and systematic planning is needed to ensure that screening and referral services are coordinated so as to facilitate access for youths into timely treatment.

      Key Words

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