Saturday, December 8, 2012

For young Americans, 15-24, suicide (60% by firearm) is the third leading cause of death

Teen Suicide
Fact Sheet
There were 1,621 teen suicides (15-19) in the United States in 2000. For young people ages 15-24, suicide is the third leading cause of death, behind unintentional injury (mostly motor vehicle crashes) and homicide. In 1998, more young people in the U.S. died due to suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined.

Currently, the risk for suicide is highest among young white males. Yet from 1980 through 1995, suicide rates in the U.S. increased the most among young black males. Adolescent males of all races are four times more likely to commit suicide than females. From 1980-1997, males committed 84% of suicides for ages 15-19. Adolescent females are twice as likely as adolescent males to attempt suicide. In 1997, 27% of high school aged females and 15% of males seriously thought about suicide. Firearms (60%) and hanging (26%) were the most common methods of suicide used by young people in the U.S.

Recent research confirms that there is a strong link between adolescent sexual orientation and suicide. Findings from the first national study on the issue indicate that gay or lesbian youths are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

New research is examining the protective factors that can prevent teen suicide. A strong and positive connection to parents, family and/or school appears to provide immunity for teens when they are troubled and may prevent suicides.
    Major Risk Factors
    • Long term or serious depression.
    • Previous suicide attempt.
    • Mood disorders and mental illness.
    • Substance abuse.
    • Childhood maltreatment.
    • Parental separation or divorce.
    • Inappropriate access to firearms.
    • Interpersonal conflicts or losses without social support.
    • Previous suicide by a relative or close friend.
    • Other significant struggles such as bullying or issues of sexuality.

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