According to Fowler, Crosby, Parks, and Ivey (2013), suicide and nonfatal suicidal ideations are significant public health concerns for adolescents and young adults. While the onset of suicidal behaviors is observed as young as six years of age, rates of death and nonfatal injury resulting from suicidal behavior are moderately low until 15 years of age (Fowler et al., 2013). According to Fowler et al (2013), the most current available statistics in the United States (U. S.) reported suicide as the third leading cause of death among youth aged 10-14 and 15-19 years, and it was the second leading cause of death among persons aged 20-24 years.
In 2012, there were an alarming number of suicides among young people in Kent and Sussex counties in Delaware (Fowler, Crosby, Parks, & Ivey, 2013). According to a collaborative investigative report that was done by the Division of Violence Prevention (DVP), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were eleven suicides committed by young people who ranged in ages from 12 to 21 years old within a five month period of time in Kent and Sussex counties in Delaware (Fowler et al., 2013). In that same five month period of time there were 116 youth who attempted to commit suicide (Fowler et al., 2013). These incidents drew a great deal of community alarm for two primary reasons. The first reason was the number of suicide deaths in the first quarter of 2012 exceeded the number of suicide deaths typically reported in this two county area in an entire year (Fowler et al., 2013). According to Fowler et al. (2013), from 2009-2011, the typical annual number of deaths by suicide among young people was four. The second was because these fatalities occurred among students attending the same high school, escalating the perception that the deaths were part of a youth suicide cluster (Fowler et al., 2013). Of the other four known, one was a middle school student, one was a student at another high school, one was a young adult who had graduated from a neighborhood high school and was still residing in Sussex County, and one was a young adult whose education standing was unknown (Fowler et al., 2013).
Epidemiology is a branch of medical science that deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population (Merriam-Webster, 1991). According to Merriam-Webster (1991), epidemiology clusters are defined as a carefully congregated series of events with well-defined distribution patterns in relation to time, space, or both. This framework has been extended to groupings of suicidal ideations and studies have found that suicide clusters occur almost exclusively among adolescents and young adults aged 15-24 years (Fowler et al., 2013). According to Fowler et al (2013), although suicide clusters are fairly sporadic events, accounting for fewer than 5 percent of the total suicides among that age...