Youth-Nominated Support Team Intervention and Long-Term Mortality

March 29, 2019

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Research

A psychosocial intervention delivered by trusted adults may reduce long-term mortality among youth at risk for suicide.

Between 2002 and 2005, a randomized clinical trial recruited and enrolled psychiatric inpatients ages 13 to 17 who reported suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt in the past month. Participants were randomly assigned to either treatment as usual, or treatment as usual plus the Youth-Nominated Support Team Intervention for Suicidal Adolescents–Version II (YST). In the YST intervention, youth nominate a trusted adult to support them in sticking with treatment and making positive behavioral choices. In that study, the researchers found that 12 months after hospital discharge, youth receiving YST demonstrated greater participation in treatment than those receiving treatment as usual.

In the current study, researchers matched the original 448 study participants to 2018 National Death Index mortality records. They found 13 deaths in the treatment as usual group, and 2 deaths in the YST group during the 11- to 14-year follow-up period. The authors of this study suggested that the YST could be associated with reduced mortality risk among youth, but the small number of deaths in both groups make it very difficult to draw conclusions. More research is needed.

King, C. A., Arango, A., Kramer, A., Busby, D., Czyz, E., Foster, C. E., & Gillespie, B. W. (2019). Association of the Youth-Nominated Support Team Intervention for Suicidal Adolescents with 11- to 14-year mortality outcomes: Secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4358