Late childhood and adolescence are critical periods for the onset of suicide-related thoughts and behaviors. Among youth between 10-24 years, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. In countries with the highest human development index, Germany ranks second in youth suicides, and 25.6% of 13 to 25 year old inpatients in Germany reported at least one suicide attempt in their lives.
Generally, suicide attempts, and plans increase linearly from age 12 to 15 and then more slowly through age 17. Most youth who transition from suicidal thoughts to suicidal behaviors will do so within 1–2 years after the onset of suicidal ideation. In German school samples, 36.4–39.4% of the students reported suicidal thoughts and 6.5–9.0% reported at least one suicide attempt in their lives. Therefore, youth represent a key prevention opportunity for death by suicide.
By gaining a better understanding of why and how suicide risk emerges during youth, we can offer opportunities to intervene on this trajectory early in life. However, the assessments and derivation of interventions face a broad variety of challenges that this network would like to address.