McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster researcher calls for national youth suicide prevention plan

Published: July 8, 2015
Kathryn Bennett
Kathryn Bennett, professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Canada needs a national youth suicide prevention plan, according to new research led by a McMaster University professor.

The systematic review of reviews of suicide prevention strategies relevant to youth was published in the June issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

Lead author Kathryn Bennett, a professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, and her colleagues note that few randomized control trials exist that evaluate the effectiveness of youth suicide prevention programs. Their review results in six consensus-based recommendations, including a call for a national network of youth suicide research-to-practice centres to help integrate evidence into policy and practice.

According to the paper, suicide is the second-leading cause of death in Canada among those aged 15 to 24; as many as eight per cent of youth are thought to attempt suicide annually; and one-third of all attempts are considered medically serious.

"A national research-to-practice network that links researchers and decision makers is recommended to implement and evaluate promising interventions; to eliminate the use of ineffective or harmful interventions; and to clarify prevention intervention effects on death by suicide, suicide attempts, and suicidal ideation. Such a network could position Canada as a leader in youth suicide prevention," the authors write.

This research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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