Early childhood programs on reducing suicide risk in adulthood

  • Emily Haroz
  • HPC Pilot Research Program and Institute for Data-Intensive Engineering and Science 2/22/2018 - 2/21/2019

Recent increases in suicide rates are significantly impacting life expectancy in the Unites States. While the public health sector has responded by expanding programs for suicide-prone individuals, there is also growing interest in early childhood interventions that could promote healthy development and reduce suicidal tendencies in late adolescence and early adulthood. The largest class of such interventions are home visiting programs (HVPs), such as the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP), where medical professionals engage in frequent visits with children-mother dyads during the child’s first years. The impact of HVPs on suicide prevention, however, is difficult to assess because of the lack of longterm longitudinal data that encompasses the period of time from early childhood to the ages associated with high suicide risk, and due to the rare nature of suicide itself. While such data will gradually grow as HVP cohorts reach young adulthood, we believe there is much that can and should be done in the interim.