This work may not be copied, distributed, displayed, published, reproduced, transmitted, modified, posted, sold, licensed, or used for commercial purposes. By downloading this file, you are agreeing to the publisher’s Terms & Conditions.

Book Review

Teen Suicide Risk: A Practitioner Guide to Screening, Assessment and Management

Ethan S. Rofman, MD

Published: March 25, 2015

Teen Suicide Risk: A Practitioner Guide to Screening, Assessment and Management

by Cheryl A. King, PhD; Cynthia Ewell Foster, PhD; and Kelly M. Rogalski, MD. In book series: The Guilford Child and Adolescent Practitioner Series. The Guilford Press, New York, NY, 2013, 208 pages, $30.00 (cloth).

The Guilford Press is known for publishing handbooks that contain concise and practical information on a host of subjects related to education, psychology, and psychiatry. The goal of these handbooks, which are grouped in topical series, is to focus on persistent challenges that often come up in clinical practice and to provide evidence-based tools for conceptualizing and addressing them. One of these challenges is teen suicide. This recent addition to The Guilford Child and Adolescent Practitioner Series provides a practical and useful guide for educators, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists who must assess risk for suicide in adolescent populations and in individual teenagers.

The text is logically organized into chapters that address risk and protective factors; screening in mental health, medical, and school settings; individual risk assessment; immediate, short-term, and ongoing interventions; partnering with parents and schools; and legal issues. An appendix contains useful checklists, forms, resource guides, assessment worksheets, and tips for communicating with teens and their families. Book purchasers are granted access to a website from which these materials can be downloaded and printed in 8½ × 11 format.

All chapters begin with a bulleted list of clearly outlined educational objectives. Thoughtfully embedded in the text are highlighted boxes that illustrate key clinical tasks, such as “Sample Questions to Ask About Suicide” and “Challenges of Risk Assessment in an Emergency Setting.” Also embedded are “Clinical Notes” with highlighted key points to underscore clinical recommendations that are obvious but often overlooked. Examples include the following: “Because time may be limited for risk formulation, it is extremely important to assess for suicide risk early in the interview” (p 75) and “A discharge home from the emergency department may be a less reasonable option if the parents do not feel safe taking the teen home—you should take into account the parent’s condition, understanding, and his or her capability of taking on responsibility when considering discharge” (p 96). Each chapter also has useful tables that present more detailed information on topics addressed in the text, sample dialogues that illustrate how experienced clinicians would talk to teen patients, and examples of properly completed forms such as a Safety Plan Form, which is also provided in the appendix.

Teen Suicide Risk takes what is known about an important topic and presents it in new and better ways. The clinical experience, caring, and academic wisdom of the authors are evident as they provide a clear and concise road map for those who educate and treat teens and their families struggling with depression and suicide. The book reads easily and is packed with practical tips and useful resources for students and busy clinicians.

Ethan S. Rofman, MD

Author affiliation: Private practice, Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Potential conflicts of interest: None reported.

Volume: 76

Quick Links: