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Statistics On Youth Suicide

  • Suicide ranks as the second leading cause of death for young Americans (ages 15-24); there are more suicides than homicides
  • In 2017, there were 47,173 suicides in the US—that is 129 suicides per day, one every 11 minutes
  • Every hour and 24 minutes 1 person under 25 completes suicide
  • 6,252 youth (ages 15-24) in the US completed suicide in 2017
  • In 2013, 17% of students (grades 9-12) had seriously considered suicide in the previous 12 months — 22.4% of female-identifying students and 11.6% of male-identifying students
  • For every completed suicide by youth, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made
  • 3.5 times as many male-identifying people kill themselves as compared to female-identifying, but female-identifying people attempt suicide 3 times more often than male-identifying
  • In the past 60 years, suicide rates have quadrupled for male-identifying people 15-24 years old, and have doubled for female-identifying people of the same age

Sources:

Statistics from: “Suicide: Facts at a Glance.” CDC Division of Violence Prevention (2015)

“Suicide in the USA Fact Sheet Based on 2017 Data (2017).” American Association of Suicidology (2017)

“Suicide in the USA Fact Sheet Based on 2012 Data (2014).” American Association of Suicidology (2014)

WHY WOULD SOMEONE ATTEMPT SUICIDE?

Usually, people who attempt suicide are in a great deal of emotional pain and believe that the only way to get rid of the pain is by ending their life. They may expect to never feel better because they believe no one understands what they are going through and no one can help.

Risk Factors

Some risk factors associated with suicide include:

  • Prior Attempt(s)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance Abuse
  • Anger/Aggression
  • Low Self Esteem
  • Social Isolation

Warning Signs

Feelings

  • Hopelessness
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Loneliness
  • Worthlessness
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Anxiety
  • Helplessness

Thoughts

  • No one cares about me
  • I am all alone
  • No one understands me
  • No one would miss me if I were gone
  • I can’t take it anymore
  • My life will always be like this
  • Nothing/no one can help me
  • I’m fat/stupid/ugly/weak/etc.
  • I’m a failure

Behaviors

  • Increase or decrease in sleep
  • Increase or decrease in eating
  • Increased use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Isolation and withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Preoccupation with death (in reading, writing, etc.)
  • Writing a will
  • Giving away possessions
  • Poor concentration
  • Initiating fights
  • Reckless behavior(ex. driving without a seat belt, speeding, etc.)
  • Self-injury(ex. cutting, burning, pulling

What Should You Do If You Think Someone You Know Is Suicidal?

1. Talk/listen

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

  • Empathize – show appreciation and understanding for their point of view “It must be really hard to deal with your parent’s divorce.”
  • Echo – repeat their thoughts and feelings back to them “Sounds like your parents’ divorce has really made you sad.”
  • Clarify – ask for more information or make sure your interpretation is correct “How are you dealing with these feelings?” “Sounds like you feel some guilt. Do you feel like you’re part of the reason for their separation?”
  • Confront – address the issue so it “okays” the person to talk about his/her feelings without guilt or shame, “You sound really depressed. Have you thought about suicide?”
  • Validate – acknowledge and normalize feelings “Sounds like you’ve had a lot to deal with.”, “I’m sure most people are confused and sad when their parents get divorced.”

INEFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

  • Giving advice – “You should try to remember all the positive things in your life.”
  • Being judgmental – “There’s a better way to deal with what’s going on.”
  • Diminishing feelings – “Breaking up with your girlfriend isn’t the end of the world.”
  • Offering “easy solutions” – “Things will get better.”, “Everything will work out.”

*Though it is often our natural instinct to try and cheer people up, overly “happy” and “hopeful” comments can actually be more difficult for a suicidal person to hear. The person may feel further guilt, shame, and isolation

2. Get help

Talk to a trusted adult such as a parent, teacher, or school counselor or call a crisis line.

OnYourMind.net is a program of the StarVista Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Center in San Mateo County, and is staffed by volunteer high school students from the Bay Area who have been trained to help other teens.