Year: 2013 Source: Child Care in Practice.(2013).19(2):138-161. DOI: 10.1080/13575279.2012.750598 SIEC No: 20130728

Child and youth care (CYC) professionals often provide care to children, youth and families in conjunction with professionals from other disciplines. How CYC professionals engage other service providers in the provision of care for suicidal adolescents requires examination. The purpose of the overall study was to understand and explain the process of CYC professionals’ mental health literacy practices with suicidal adolescents. Findings presented here provide insight into the process of CYC professionals’ practice with other service providers in the context of their encounters with suicidal adolescents. Using a constructivist grounded theory method, data were collected and analysed from interviews with CYC professionals, supervisors within youth-serving community agencies, educators within Schools of Child and Youth Care, and extant texts of relevance to suicide, such as organisational policies, assessment tools, and suicide education curricula. One practice identified during analysis, flooding the zone, is the focus of the present paper. Flooding refers to the process of contacting and informing a myriad of professionals or services of the adolescent’s suicidality, and was comprised of making decisions as to whom to contact, informing the adolescent, and negotiating with services. Professionals’ perceptions of their role and the availability and accessibility of mental health services influenced the practice of flooding. Based on analysis of the data, flooding the zone has the potential to disrupt CYC professionals’ relational proximity to the adolescent and may reinforce a devalued role for CYC professionals in suicide intervention within the larger mental health system of care.