Engage | Webinars and PresentationsApplying Zero Suicide in Pediatric Care Settings

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10241, with the fastest growing rates among youth ages 10142. There is significant racial disparity where the rate of suicide among Black youth ages 13 and younger is twice that for White youth3. Suicide prevention and treatment for youth must be developmentally appropriate, attend to critical social determinants of health, assess the presence of adverse childhood events (ACEs) and trauma, incorporate parental or guardian support, and address consent considerations4. Effective youth suicide prevention requires primary prevention strategies as part of a comprehensive approach that incorporates the health system and extends into schools and the community5. When focusing specifically on health care settings, one relevant approach is the Zero Suicide framework, which has been adapted for application in pediatric settings to improve care for youth at risk of suicide.

This webinar presents two examples of how Zero Suicide has been adapted for application in pediatric settings. Specifically, it addresses the application of clinical pathways for outpatient suicide care in pediatric behavioral health, and the development and maintenance of a caring contacts texting program for a pediatric population. By the end of this webinar, participants will be able to (1) design adaptations to risk identification, assessment, and care pathway development to address suicide in youth-serving health care systems; (2) describe how the caring contacts intervention can be applied in pediatric settings; and 3) discuss the importance of leadership and staff training to sustain practice change in pediatric hospital systems. 

  • 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (June 2020). Retrieved from
  • 2. Horowitz, L., Tipton, M. V., & Pao, M. (2020). Primary and Secondary Prevention of Youth Suicide. Pediatrics, 145(Suppl 2), S195–S203.
  • 3. Bridge, J. A., Horowitz, L. M., Fontanella, C. A., Sheftall, A. H., Greenhouse, J., Kelleher, K. J., & Campo, J. V. (2018). Age-related racial disparity in suicide rates among US youths from 2001 through 2015. JAMA pediatrics, 172(7), 697-699.
  • 4. Thompson, M. P., Kingree, J. B., & Lamis, D. (2019). Associations of adverse childhood experiences and suicidal behaviors in adulthood in a US nationally representative sample. Child: care, health and development, 45(1), 121-128.
  • 5. Robinson, J., Bailey, E., Witt, K., Stefanac, N., Milner, A., Currier, D., ... & Hetrick, S. (2018). What works in youth suicide prevention? A systematic review and meta-analysis. EClinicalMedicine, 4, 52-91.


Stephen Soffer, PhD
Jason Lewis, PhD
John Ackerman, PhD
Glenn Thomas, PhD

SPRC and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention are able to make this web site available thanks to support from Universal Health Services (UHS), the Zero Suicide Institute at EDC, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (grant 1 U79 SM0559945).

No official endorsement by SAMHSA, DHHS, or UHS for the information on this web site is intended or should be inferred.