Pediatricians should look for risk factors linked to teen suicide, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises. Risk factors include substance abuse, a history of physical or sexual abuse, mood disorders, being lesbian, gay or bisexual, and bullying, the group notes in new guidelines.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens, the group notes. The guidelines were first published in 2007, and were updated this year. Ben Shain, lead author of the new guidelines, said teen suicide rates may have increased because of the stresses and anger levels caused by electronic media.
They also may have risen because of a reluctance to use antidepressant medication, he said. USA Today notes the Food and Drug Administration required “black box warning” labels on antidepressants in 2004, which warn health care providers of increased risks of suicidal thinking and behavior among children and teens who are taking the medication. The warnings led to a decrease in antidepressant prescriptions, the article notes.