BOOKS: The Downward Spiral

A psychiatrist tells families how to detect signs that a teenager may be at risk to commit suicide -- and what to do about it

The problem is of frightening magnitude: 2,000 teenagers commit suicide each year, and for every suicide, there are up to 350 failed attempts. "In an age where the cult of youth is so valued, emulated and pursued," notes psychiatrist Andrew Slaby, "we have been unable to respond to our children and teens when they are in the greatest pain." Slaby's No One Saw My Pain: Why Teens Kill Themselves (Norton; 208 pages; $23), written with Lilli Frank Garfinkel, is a canny and compassionate attempt to make, and help others to make, such a response.

Using eight case studies, Slaby focuses on...

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