Identification of Suicidal Risk in Adolescents
Halling, Wayne B.
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The problem. The level of suicide risk in a school population was obtained to determine if there is a greater number than 12 per 100 population at the severe suicidal risk level as determined from a statistical report of the U.S. Department of Human Services. Procedures. On an anonymous basis each adolescent in a random sample of 100 was rated as being of subclinical (normal), mild, moderate or severe suicidal risk as a result of an assessment obtained from answering 36 self-report statements from an instrument titled, Suicide Probability Scale (SPS). The level of risk for suicide was determined from the probability score of each adolescent. Findings. No respondents were found to be classed in the high or severe level of suicidal risk. Three respondents rated in the mild classification of suicidal risk. Three respondents, included in the remaining ninty-seven respondents, were at the top of the subclinical level of risk for suicide with a classification value of 24. A total of ninty-seven respondents were rated in the subclinical or normal classification for suicidal risk. Conclusions. While the analysis indicated no respondents to be classified at the severe level of suicidal risk, an important point to be made is that the Suicide Probability Scale was used in a general school population to identify students at risk of suicide. Recommendation. It is recommended that the school be the center for and the initiator of a program of detection and intervention for the prevention of adolescent suicide. Educators must initiate a plan to bring together professionals from the community, medical and psychiatric fields and education to develop intervention programs that students will accept on a nonanonymous basis.