Teen Suicide: Statistics Snapshot
In the United States, suicide is the third leading cause of death in the young adult age group(15-24). The gender ratio for this age group is 7 to 1, males to females.
In Canada, the statistics fare no better. According to the Youth Suicide Report at the Canadian Task Force on Protective Health Care,suicide has accounted for about 2% of annual deaths in Canada since the late 1970s.
It is the second leading cause of death in youths and young adults ( ages 15-24) and the third leading cause of death among children (ages 10-14).
If you think that young people do not think of suicide, think again.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association,a survey of 15,000 grade 7-12 students in British Columbia revealed that
34% knew of someone who had attempted or died by suicide
16% had seriously considered suicide
14% had made a suicide plan
7% had made an actual attempt and
2% had required medical attention due to the attempt.
We must move beyond the idea that our children are insulated from suicide.
In fact, what we should focus on are aspects of teen suicide that most people are not aware of.
What You May Not Know About Teen Suicide
1. Be on the lookout for teens who drink when depressed. According to a recent University of Connecticut study, adolescents who drink while depressed have a 68% increase in risk of attempting suicide if they have previously entertained suicidal thoughts.
Even with teens who have not entertained the idea of suicide, drinking while depressed is associated with a three-fold increase in risk.
2. Gender makes a difference in adolescents suicides. Young girls are more likely to make the attempt;however, more boys succeed in the attempts.
The reason is that the male sex has a tendency to use guns which are far more definitive than overdosing with sleeping pills.
3. Girls involved in violent sexual relationships are 8-9 times more likely to attempt suicide than girls who are not. These girls are also more likely to engage in substance abuse, binge-drinking, cocaine use, heavy smoking and unhealthy weight control behaviors.
Symptoms like these call out for intervention. All of us need to be more vigilant teen behavior and providing opportunities for education and intervention.
4. While suicide among young children are rare, there has been an escalation in the suicide rate among children aged 10-14 years. Every year at least 300 young people aged 10-19 years kill themselves.
One reason stated by Carol Goar in The Toronto Star is the lack of mental health resources for children in Canada. For example, children wait one third longer than adults for psychiatric care in Ontario.
Canada produces just 10 child psychiatrists a year.The problem of child depression requires both manpower and resources.
5.Gay and lesbian adolescents are 14 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Among First Nation and Inuit communities, teen suicide rates are 5-8 times higher than the general population.
7. School- based programs with suicide awareness as part of the curriculum might not be as effective as screening processes that can detect teens at risk.
Evidence suggests that teens are less likely to seek help or recommend a friend to do so when exposed to curriculum based programs. There is also the possibility that school based awareness programs may provoke teens into imitating suicide.
However, programs that appear to be effective are those that proactively screen the student body for teens at risk.
you are unsure whether your teen is suicidal, you may find this Teen
Suicide Risk Calculator helpful.It can provide you with an assessment
tool to evaluate your teen's likelihood of attempting suicide.
Teen Suicide Risk Calculator
The sad case of teenager Jamie Hubley reminds us all too poignantly of the dangers of gay bashing, even as the case of 15 year old Phoebe Prince reminds us that text message bullying is fast becoming an epidemic in our online world.
Disclaimer: The above information is meant only to inform and should never displace professional consultation.