Early adulthood: A developmental perspective on suicide prevention and intervention

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  • Early adulthood is a time of transition when large segments of the population embrace new roles and show decreases in behaviors and problems thought to underlie suicide risk. Still, other segments show emergent or worsening psychopathology per-haps exacerbated by age-related disconnection from prior relational and institutional supports. Suicide prevention efforts are developmentally informed with respect to the distinction between adolescence and adulthood, but much less so in relation to earlier versus later adulthood. Developmentally sensitive approaches to suicide prevention during early adulthood should enhance the tried-and-true approaches of screening, means restriction, and treatment, and improve universal prevention by attending to (1) unique or high-risk developmental transitions (e.g., college dropout), (2) key institu-tional contexts in which most young adults spend significant time (e.g., workplace), (3) how ongoing dependence with respect to the family of origin can be leveraged by pre-ventionists, and (4) the ways in which health care utilization patterns weaken the utility of key prevention pathways, such as via screening by general practitioners. Multilevel, multicomponent suicide prevention models will be needed to make use of the array of effective but often unintegrated strategies and to develop new ones. Finally, funda-mental methodological considerations are required to advance the science, practice, and impact of suicide prevention in early adulthood.
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  • Kerr, D.C.R. (2014). Early adulthood: A Developmental perspective on Suicide Prevention and Intervention. In M. Van Dulmen, M. Swahn, & R. Bossarte (Eds.). Developmental and public health perspectives on suicide prevention: An integrated approach. SciKnow Press.
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