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Do Me a Favor, Take Less Than a Minute to Hug a Youth Today … It’s Suicide Prevention Week!

Sep 10, 2013

Suicide Prevention Week 2013Prevention of Youth Suicides and Suicidal Behavior

Youth suicidal behavior is a significant national problem. The extent of suicidal behavior including thoughts of and plans for suicide, nonfatal suicide attempts, and suicide deaths is shown below. Yet, as with so many public health problems, youth suicide is often preventable.  Saving young lives at risk involves a diverse range of interventions including effective assessment and treatment of those with mental disorders, promotion of help seeking, early detection of and support for youth in crisis, preventive training in life skills, and reduction of access to lethal means.

Data and Demographics  – USA Suicides

 The following data are for 2010, youth aged 15 – 24:

  • NUMBER OF SUICIDES: 4,600 died by suicide
  • LEADING CA– USE OF DEATH: Suicide was the third leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds.
  • SUICIDE RATES: The rate of suicide for youth aged 15 – 24 was 10.45 per 100,000. Rates of suicide are highest for older youth. For youth aged 20 to 24, the rate was 13.62 per 100,000, for youth aged 15 to 19, 7.53 per 100,000, for youth aged 10 to14, 1.29 per 100,000 died.
  • GENDER: Male youth die by suicide four (4.34) times more frequently than female youth.
  • RACE: Native American/Alaska Native youth have the highest rate with 20.89 suicides per 100,000. White youth are the next highest with 11.30 deaths per 100,000. Black youth had 6.59 deaths by suicide per 100,000.
  • METHODS: The majority of youth who died by suicide used firearms (44.5% of deaths). Suffocation was the second most commonly used method (39.7% of deaths).

Data – Suicide thoughts, plans, and attempts

 The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students:

  • 7.8 percent self reported having attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months. Attempts were reported more frequently by female students (9.8 percent vs. 5.8percent for males) and Hispanic females reported attempts more than other racial and ethnic groups (13.5 percent)
  • 2.4 percent reported having made a suicide attempt in the previous 12 months that resulted in an injury, poisoning, or overdoes that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse. Females reported suicide attempts more often than did males (2.9% versus 1.9%)
  • 12.8 percent reported having made a plan for a suicide attempt in the previous 12 months.
  • 15.8 percent reported having seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months.

High school students reports of suicide attempts decreased from 2001 to 2009, and reports of serious suicide attempts decreased from 2003 to 2009; however both were reported at increased levels in 2011.

Risk and Protective Factors for Youth Suicide

Risk Factors are characteristics and other variables associated through research with those who engage in suicidal behavior versus those who do not. Protective factors are characteristics or variables associated with youth not engaging suicidal behavior. Risk factors do not establish a cause of suicidal behavior, they only describe an association. The following list is not complete, but shows the most important factors.

Risk factors:

  • Mental illness and substance abuse
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Firearms in the household
  • Nonsuicidal self injury
  • Exposure to friends’ or family members’ suicidal behavior
  • Low self-esteem

Hug A YouthProtective factors:

  • Family connectedness and school connectedness
  • Reduced access to firearms
  • Safe schools
  • Academic Achievement
  • Self-esteem

Click here, for more information and to access a downloadable fact sheet.

 

Source:  American Association of Suicidology

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  1. Pingback: Continued post from yesterday on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (NAASP) | Natalie M. Lewis

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