Pediatric residents are not getting enough training in preventing adolescent suicides,
a new study found.
Suicide rates among adolescents are on the rise, and many of these youths visited
a health care provider shortly before their death. The AAP recommends routinely screening
adolescents for depression and asking about risk factors like drug use, bullying and
suicidal thoughts (http://bit.ly/326GYNC).
Researchers surveyed 95 pediatric residency program directors and 210 chief residents
about whether their program provides adequate training to identify these youths and
About 82% of both groups rated suicide prevention training very or extremely important,
while 66% of program directors and 45% of chief residents said their program provides
formal training in this area. Among those with training programs, just under 70% said
they are mandatory.
Training typically takes place during the adolescent medicine rotation. Directors
reported a median of three hours, while chief residents reported a median of 1.5 hours.
Just 10% of chief residents and 18% of program directors reported their program provides
adequate preparation. The most common barriers they cited were lack of time, resources
and expert faculty.
Researchers called for standardized suicide prevention training for residents.
“Based on our findings, additional training priorities may include resident instruction
on the importance of uniform suicide screening practices, including specific screening
instruments, CPGs (clinical practice guidelines), lethal means restriction counseling,
psychosocial and pharmacologic interventions and postvention practices (after a patient’s
death),” authors wrote.