The AAP/AFSP Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention: Strategies for Clinical and Community Settings

Session Recording


Clinical and community partners can use the Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention as a guide for implementing proactive suicide prevention practices where kids live, work, and play.

The majority of youth who die by suicide have visited a healthcare provider months, sometimes weeks, before their death, making medical settings a unique venue to identify and manage youth at risk. In February 2022, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended suicide risk screening for all youth aged 12 and above through its Bright Futures periodicity schedule. Pediatric providers and community partners require guidelines for implementing evidence-based suicide prevention strategies. Furthermore, the rising youth suicide rate is disproportionately spread across race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. To employ upstream efforts to address disparities in suicide risk, multi-sectoral collaborations are needed to identify and support youth at risk for suicide. 

In response to this public health crisis, AAP and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), with experts from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), collaborated with other clinical and community stakeholders to develop a “Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention”, which was released in March 2022. The Blueprint is the first known online and accessible resource to contain a comprehensive guide for embedding evidence-based suicide prevention strategies into clinical and community settings. 

Derived from an iterative development and review process that engaged over 90 multidisciplinary partners, the Blueprint outlines actionable interventions to promote early identification of youth at risk for suicide, utilizes screening tools and clinical care pathways to assess and manage suicide risk, and equips pediatric providers, community members, and families to promote resilience, identify warning signs, and support youth at risk for suicide. 

This workshop will describe direct action to build sustainable suicide prevention programs to support underserved and understudied youth (e.g., BIPOC youth, LGBTQ2S+ youth, youth involved in the Child Welfare System, and those from under-resourced areas). In this workshop, panelists will outline how any adult working with children (e.g., pediatric healthcare providers, mental health practitioners, teachers, coaches, etc.) can implement the evidence-based strategies contained in the Blueprint. Dr. Lisa Horowitz and Ms. Julie Gorzkowski, co-developers of the Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention, will lead this workshop. Dr. Horowitz will briefly overview youth suicide epidemiology and describe strategies for identifying and managing youth suicide risk in clinical settings. Ms. Gorzwkoski will discuss the development of the Blueprint and actionable strategies for engaging schools and community settings in youth suicide prevention. Attendees will be encouraged to design quality improvement projects for implementing suicide prevention in their local practices.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program, participants should be better able to:

  1. Identify the scope of the youth suicide crisis from a public health perspective.
  2. Describe how to identify and manage youth suicide risk using a three-tiered clinical pathway outlined in the “Strategies for Clinical Settings” section of the Blueprint. 
  3. Discuss examples of community mental health partnerships, focusing on highlights from the Blueprint’s “Preventing Youth Suicide: Strategies for Community and School Settings” section.

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Senior Associate Scientist / Pediatric Psychologist — Intramural Research Program, National Institute Of Mental Health, NIH

Dr. Lisa Horowitz is a Pediatric Psychologist and a Senior Associate Scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health at NIH.

Dr. Horowitz received her doctorate in clinical psychology from George Washington University, completed a Pediatric Health Service Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School, and obtained a Master in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Horowitz’s research focuses on suicide prevention in the medical setting, which involves validating and implementing tools for clinicians, such as the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ). She is also one of the co-authors of the Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention, released by the American Academy of Pediatrics this past March. Dr. Horowitz is collaborating with hospitals, and outpatient clinics around the country, assisting with the implementation of suicide risk screening and management of patients who screen positive using the ASQ Toolkit and Clinical Pathways.

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