Managing risk and self-harm: Keeping young people safe

Nicholas J. Westers, Paul L. Plener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents worldwide, yet adequate mental health services for children and adolescents are lacking across the globe. Likewise, youth who engage in non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) are at heightened risk for suicide, but few pediatric settings have established protocols for screening and responding to youth who engage in NSSI and/or endorse thoughts of suicide. In this article, we highlight similarities and differences of managing suicide and NSSI across cultures, including persisting stigma associated with youth at risk for self-harm. We summarize current guidelines for screening youth at risk for suicide and NSSI across services, consider the use of online and telehealth services, and offer recommendations for a multidisciplinary approach to treating youth who engage in self-harming behaviors as well as how healthcare professionals can communicate with each other using common, non-stigmatizing language. We conclude with a discussion of future policy recommendations and areas for research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-624
Number of pages15
JournalClinical child psychology and psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Suicide
  • adolescents
  • integrated care
  • multidisciplinary
  • non-suicidal self-injury
  • pediatrics
  • self-harm
  • self-injury
  • suicide screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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