David Shaffer, a pioneering and well-respected expert on child and teenage suicide, has passed away at the age of 87. Dr. Shaffer was an integral figure in helping to recognize suicide as a mental health issue, bringing awareness and providing education to both professionals and the public.
An eminent professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Shaffer was a world-renowned authority on suicide, mental health, and the prevention of youth suicide and self-harm. His research, teachings, and incredible humanitarian efforts have been described as “life-saving” initiatives in both his professional and personal life. From research and surveys to reports and lectures, Dr. Shaffer was an instrumental figure in the development and understanding of youth suicide and related issues.
Dr. Shaffer has authored numerous works on child and adolescent suicide, most notably his landmark book, “The Youth Suicide Problem: A Guide for Parents and Professionals.” This book was widely recognized as a solid, comprehensive guide to suicide risk factors, as well as possible interventions aimed at prevention.
Dr. Shaffer was deeply committed to fostering empathy, understanding, and awareness of the issues surrounding suicide. He was a firm believer in the power of positive change and prevention. He was often heard saying, “Schools, parents, and communities must help teens become mentally prepared to cope with losses, rejections, and disappointments.”
The loss of Dr. Shaffer will be felt deeply in the mental health and medical communities, but the legacy of his pioneering work will last forever. His impact on the mental health of youth was invaluable and his influence will continue to shape the world we live in.