Suicide attempts in the "Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families" Program

C. M. Walrath, D. S. Mandell, Q. Liao, E. Wayne Holden, G. De Carolis, R. L. Santiago, P. J. Leaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To compare clinical characteristics of youths who had attempted suicide recently, previously but not recently, repeatedly, or never. Method: The sample comprised 4,677 youths receiving services between 1993 to 1998 in 22 communities and participating in the national evaluation of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program. Data on suicide attempts, demographics, and clinical characteristics were obtained from intake interviews and referring agencies. Chi-square and univariate analyses of variance were used for between-group comparisons. Results: Twenty-one percent of the sample had a history of attempted suicide. Previous and repeat attempters were more likely to have a history of family violence and substance abuse. Repeat attempters were most likely to have depression, while never and previous (but not recent) attempters were more likely to have conduct disorder. Other clinical differences were also found. Conclusions: Among children receiving mental health services, those who attempt suicide experience more and different types of distress, depending on the recency and frequency of attempts. Clinicians should be aware that depression is not a necessary factor in predicting suicide attempts and that suicide risk is also associated with violent and aggressive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1205
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2001


  • Service
  • Suicide
  • System of care
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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