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Youth Suicide Contagion: Implications for Colleges and Universities

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Columbia Psychiatry NYSPI

Columbia Psychiatry NYSPI

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Presenter: Madelyn S. Gould, Ph.D., M.P.H. ,  Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry, CUMC/ Research Scientist, NYSPI.  Contact information: gouldm@nyspi.columbia.edu

Moderator:  Alison Lake, M.A., Research Scientist and Project Director, NYSPI

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students in U.S., with approximately 1,100 students dying by suicide each year.  In addition, approximately 1% of undergraduates attempt suicide and 6-9% seriously consider suicide each year. It is recognized that youth suicide is influenced by many factors; research has indicated that one such factor is suicide contagion, a phenomenon to which teenagers and young adults are particularly vulnerable. Suicide contagion, sometimes referred to as suicide modeling, is the process wherein the direct or indirect knowledge of one suicide facilitates the occurrence of a subsequent suicide. There is ample evidence to support concerns about suicide contagion/modeling; several sources of this evidence will be presented.  Given the prevalence of suicide on college campuses, and the associated risk of contagion and clustering, it is imperative that colleges develop effective and comprehensive postvention strategies. This blogtalk will present specific postvention strategies that colleges and universities can use to limit the risk of further suicides through contagion.  

 

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