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Did You Know?

  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24?
  • One in 11 high school students made a suicide attempt in the past 12 months?
  • 86% of school psychologists surveyed reported that they had counseled a student who had threatened or attempted suicide?
  • 62% of school psychologists surveyed reported that they have had a student make a nonfatal suicide attempt at school? (American Association of Suicidology)
  • Connecticut ranks 48th in the country for fewest suicides per 100,000 according to the latest figures from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Stats
Figures from the National Center for Health Statistics for the year 2007.
All rates are per 100,000 population.

Warning Signs For Suicide

Seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling 2 1 1:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life

Suicide Among Children and Youth

  • In 2007, suicide ranked as the third leading cause of death for young people (ages 15-19 and 15-24); only accidents and homicides occurred more frequently.
  • Whereas suicides accounted for 1.4% of all deaths in the U.S. annually, they comprised 12.2% of all deaths among 15-24-year-olds.
  • In 2007, 34,598 people completed suicide. Of these, 4,140 were completed by people between the ages of 15 and 24.
  • Suicide rates, for 15-24-year-olds, have more than doubled since the 1950’s, and remained largely stable at these higher levels between the late 1970’s and the mid 1990’s. They have declined almost 30% since 1994.
  • In the past 60 years, the suicide rate has quadrupled for males 15 to 24 years old, and has doubled for females of the same age.
  • Suicide rates for those 15-19 years old increased 19% between 1980 and 1994. Since the peak in 1994 with 11.0 suicides per 100,000, there has been a 34% decrease. In 2004, the rate was 8.2 per 100,000.
  • Males between 15 and 19 were 4.46 times more likely than females to complete suicide (2007 data).
  • For every completed suicide by youth, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made. Based on the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey.
  • Firearms remain the most commonly used suicide method among youth, accounting for 45.9% of all completed suicides (2007).
  • In the last decade, for youths aged 15 to 19, the suicide rate by firearm decreased (from 7.3 in 1992 to 2.94 in 2007); correspondingly, suicide rates by suffocation increased (from 1.9 in 1992 to 2.88 in 2007).
  • Research has shown that the access to and the availability of firearms is a significant factor in observed increases in rates of youth suicide.
  • Guns in the home are deadly to its occupants!
  • In 2007, 119 children ages 10 to 14 completed suicide in the U.S.
  • Suicide rates for those between the ages of 10-14 increased over 50% between 1981 and 2007.
  • In the 10 to 14 age group, Caucasian children (ranked 3rd leading cause of death) were far more likely to complete suicide than African American children (ranked 5th leading cause of death).

____________________
“Youth” refers to ages 15-24. Information presented refers to the latest available national data (2007).

Suicide Rates for African American Youth

  • For African American youth, the rate of male suicide (4.3 per 100,000) was 4.3 times higher than that of females (1.0 per 100,000).
  • African American youth suicide rates were generally low until the beginning of the 1980’s when rates started to increase radically. Between 1981 and 1994, the rate increased 78%. Since then, the rate has decreased significantly.
  • Although Caucasian youth are twice as likely as African American youth to complete suicide, the rate of suicide grew faster in this time period among African American youth than among Caucasian youth.
  • From 1981-1994, the suicide rate increased 83% for 15-24 year old African American males and 10% for African American females. Since 1994, the rates for males have decreased 67% for males and 23% for females.
  • Males accounted for 87.2% of African American elderly (65 and older) suicides.
  • Firearms were the predominant method of suicide among African Americans regardless of gender and age, accounting for roughly 50.4% of all suicides.

Other Factors

  • Research has shown that most adolescent suicides occur after school hours and in the teen's home.
  • Although rates vary somewhat by geographic location, within a typical high school classroom, it is likely that three students (one boy and two girls) have made a suicide attempt in the past year.
  • The typical profile of an adolescent non-fatal suicide attempter is a female who ingests pills, while the profile of the typical suicide completer is a male who dies from a gunshot wound.
  • Not all adolescent attempters may admit their intent. Therefore, any deliberate self-harming behaviors should be considered serious and in need of further evaluation.
  • Most adolescent suicide attempts are precipitated by interpersonal conflicts. The intent of the behavior appears to be to effect change in the behaviors or attitudes of others.
  • Repeat attempters (those making more than one non-fatal attempt) generally use their behavior as a means of coping with stress and tend to exhibit more chronic symptomology, poorer coping histories, and a higher presence of suicidal and substance abuse behaviors in their family histories.

Things We Can Do to Help:

  • In Connecticut call 2 1 1.
  • Remove barriers to treatment.
  • Improve access to mental health treatment.
  • Remove stigma associated with mental health treatment.
  • Increase awareness in cultural differences in the expression of suicidal behaviors.
  • Develop liaisons with the faith community.
  • Recognize warning signs and help a friend or family member get professional help.

Sources

This information came from the American Association of Suicidology www.suicidology.org; Their sources included:

Information for the fact sheet was gathered from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) website (www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/default.htm), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports; the National Institute of Mental Health website (www.nimh.nih.gov/) as well as the National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide (NOPCAS) website (www.nopcas.com).

American Association of Suicidology
AAS is a membership organization for all those involved in suicide prevention and intervention, or touched by suicide. AAS is a leader in the advancement of scientific and programmatic efforts in suicide prevention through research, education and training, the development of standards and resources, and survivor support services. For membership information, please contact:

American Association of Suicidology
5221 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20015
Phone: (202) 237-2280
Fax: (202) 237-2282
Email: info@suicidology.org
Website: www.suicidology.org

National Organization for People for Color against Suicide www.nopcas.com