Minding Mental Health: Clinicians’ Engagement with Youth Suicide Prevention
Bartkowski, John P.
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Suicidal ideation and deaths among children and adolescents have seen an unprecedented rise over the last ten years, recently further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This research explores mental health professionals’ approaches to delivering suicide prevention treatment services. Using insights from Giddens’ structuration theory, the study examines licensed mental health professionals’ (1) reflections on suicide prevention trainings for those in their profession, (2) appraisals of available treatment options, and (3) assessments of postvention services provided to professionals who encounter a client suicide. Additional attention was given to the structural impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on intervention services. Data were collected through qualitative interviews with youth mental health clinicians in the state of Texas. Results underscore the interplay between structural influences and practitioner innovations in the delivery of these essential services to a vulnerable population. This study underscores the agency of mental health professionals in navigating the demands of a difficult profession.