New Podcast Interview: Joan Asarnow, PhD, on Positive Suicide Screens in Pediatric ED Patients

Dr. Ilene Claudius, MD, FACEP, interviewed ASAP Center director, Dr. Joan Asarnow, on an effective approach to caring for pediatric patients who screen positive on a suicide screening tool without acute suicidality. Dr. Asarnow describes our ASAP Center’s evidence-based and family-focused approach to safety planning for reducing future suicide attempts: SAFETY-Acute (A). The podcast interview was produced by the Emergency Medical Services for Children Innovation and Improvement Center (EMSC) Innovation & Improvement Center as part of a new resource, Pediatric Education & Advocacy Kit (PEAK): Suicide. Interviewer Dr. Claudius is Chief of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine, a division specializing in pediatric emergency care and serving approximately 25,000 patients per year, including pediatric trauma patients.

Click this link to listen to the podcast and learn what to do after a positive screen for suicide risk.

Other resources available here.

Special issue of Evidence Based Practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health focusing on “Quality Improvement for Acute Trauma–Informed Suicide Prevention Care”, Co-Editors: Drs. Joan R. Asarnow and David Goldston

Evidence Based Practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health (EBPCAMH) released a Special Issue co-edited by Drs. Joan R. Asarnow and David Goldston focusing on “Quality Improvement for Acute Trauma–Informed Suicide Prevention Care” for World Suicide Prevention Month: EBPCAMH, Volume 6, Issue 3 (2021). For more information, click the link to access the EBPCAMH Special Issue:

New Fireside Chat Webinar on Youth Suicide Prevention with Expert Leaders: Drs. Kelly Koerner, Cheryl King, Elizabeth A. McCauley, and Joan Asarnow

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youths ages 15-24 in the United States (U.S.). Moreover, suicide rates have increased substantially among high school students in the past 10 years, underscoring a strong need for improving youth mental health care and suicide prevention. Jaspr Health CEO and suicide expert leader, Dr. Kelly Koerner, hosted a fireside chat on youth suicide prevention featuring Drs. Cheryl King, Elizabeth A. McCauley, and Joan Asarnow, our ASAP Center director. Speakers discuss youth suicide in the U.S., key treatment approaches and components for teens and their families, and emerging treatment innovations. Please click to watch the Fireside Chat webinar video.

NCTSN-Partnered Resource for Supporting Youth Conversations with Friends or Peers about Suicide and Self-Harm

The ASAP Center collaborated with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Youth Task Force to develop a partnered resource for youth suicide prevention. This 3-part resource* supports youth when talking with friends and peers about suicide and self-harm and engages youth in self-care when navigating these difficult conversations. ASAP’s psychologist, Dr. Lucas Zullo, led the ASAP partnership on this product.

Please click the following NCTSN links to learn more about each part:  

Talking About Suicide with Friends and Peers  

Words To Use When Talking About Suicide  

Taking Care of You  

*Developed for youths ages 12 and older.  

Just Released: Screenside Chats with Gabrielle Carlson, MD, President of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr. Gabrielle Carlson, MD, President of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), hosted our ASAP Center Co-Director, Dr. Joan Asarnow, PhD, on the AACAP Screenside Chats video podcast Episode 32 – “Protecting Our Kids: Keeping our Suicidal Youth Safe With a Mental Health Seatbelt”. Drs. Carlson and Asarnow discuss youth at risk for suicidal behaviors and an evidence-based intervention with effectiveness in emergency room (ER) settings. Dr. Asarnow describes our ASAP Center intervention, SAFETY-A, for youths with suicidal presentations in the ER. She emphasizes the importance of safety planning, lethal means counseling, follow-up contact, and linkage to evidence-based care following an ER visit for self-harm and suicide. Please visit the AACAP website to watch.

ASAP Center Team Approved for Collaborative Multi-site Comparative Effectiveness Trial

Exciting news! The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has approved funding for a large collaborative multi-site trial led by Center Co-Directors, Drs. Joan Asarnow at UCLA & David Goldston at Duke. The study will compare two evidence-based suicide and suicide attempt prevention strategies for youth presenting to emergency departments with suicidal episodes. Other participating sites are: Brown University Alpert School of Medicine, led by Drs. Anthony Spirito & Ivan Miller; University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare led by Drs. Brooks Keeshin & Tammer Attallah MBA, MSW; and Olive View-UCLA Medical Center led by Dr. Naser Ahmadi.

For more information, please read the press release.

New Grant from NIMH Awarded to David Goldston, Ph.D., to Develop New Approaches for Suicide Prevention for Youth Who Are in Juvenile Detention Settings

Rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors are higher among youth involved with juvenile justice, especially those in secure settings. Youth in such settings also have disproportionately high exposure to traumatic stress. However, there are few evidence-based, trauma-informed, brief intervention approaches for working with acutely suicidal young people who are incarcerated. In this three-year grant, we will partner with stakeholders in adapting the SAFETY-A intervention so it can be delivered by paraprofessional staff in secure facilities with youth at risk for suicide and evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and usefulness of this approach. Click here if you would like to learn more about SAFETY-A and our treatment programs.

ABCT 55th Annual Convention: Drs. Asarnow and Zullo to Present on SAFETY-A and Lock and Protect™

Drs. Joan Asarnow and Lucas Zullo will be presenting at the upcoming Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 55th Annual Convention in November. Dr. Asarnow will present on SAFETY-A and reducing disparities in linkage to aftercare for racial and ethnic minorities at risk for suicide. SAFETY-A is an evidence-based, family-focused crisis treatment for youths with depression or suicidality. Dr. Zullo will present on the development of Lock and Protect™, our web-based lethal means decision aid for parents and caregivers. Lock and Protect™ aims to improve lethal means counseling for parents and caregivers of youth at risk for suicide. Stay tuned to hear more about the conference in November.

Click here to learn more about our ASAP Center’s treatment programs and training opportunities.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Child Abuse and Suicide Prevention

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) featured an article underscoring the relationship between child abuse and risk of suicide for National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child abuse has deleterious impacts on lifetime mental health, including increased risk for suicide. In the wake of COVID-19, families are experiencing elevated levels of stress, economic instability, and social isolation, which may increase youth exposure to abuse. SPRC highlights an opportunity to prevent child abuse and suicide by strengthening family support environments during this difficult time.

The ASAP Center offers training in evidence-based, trauma-informed treatments for suicide prevention among at risk youths: SAFETY and SAFETY-A. These family-centered approaches to youth suicide prevention improve family functioning and suicide-related outcomes by enhancing family support. Click here to learn more about our treatment programs for suicide, self-harm, and depression.

New SAMHSA Guidance for Treatment of Youth with Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a new guide on evidence-based care for treatment of youths with suicidality called “Treatment for Suicidal Ideation, Self-harm, and Suicide Attempts Among Youth.” The ASAP Center offers training and support in the use of SAFETY-A and SAFETY for youth suicide prevention. Since traumatic stress is associated with increased suicide and self-harm risk, the ASAP Center aims to support trauma-informed approaches to suicide and self-harm prevention. Learn more about our trauma-informed interventions in the new SAMHSA guide on pages 24 and 25.