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Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2005 Oct;35(5):536-46.

Utah youth suicide study: psychological autopsy.

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Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, USA.


We conducted a psychological autopsy study to further understand youth suicide in Utah. While traditional psychological autopsy studies primarily focus on the administration of psychometric measures to identify any underlying diagnosis of mental illness for the suicide decedent, we focused our interviews to identify which contacts in the decedent's life recognized risk factors for suicidal behavior, symptoms of mental illness, as well as barriers to mental health treatment for the decedent. Parents and friends recognized most symptoms universally, although friends better recognized symptoms of substance abuse than any other contact. The study results suggest that parents and friends are the most appropriate individuals for gatekeeper training and, in conjunction with other innovative screening programs, may be an effective strategy in reducing adolescent suicide.

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