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 2013, there were 41,149 suicides in the US—that is 113 suicides per day, one every 13 minutes
• Approximately 11.3 young people between the ages of 15-24 die every day by suicide.
• Every 2 hours and 11 minutes, a person under the age of 25 completes suicide
• For every completed suicide by youth, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made.
• In 2013, 17% of students (grades 9-12) had seriously considered suicide in the previous 12 months — 22.4% of female students and 11.6% of male students
• In 2011, 4,822 youth (ages 15-24) in the US completed suicide.
• 3.6 times as many males kill themselves as compared to females, but females attempt suicide 3 times more often than males
• In the past 60 years, suicide rates have quadrupled for males 15-24 years old, and have doubled for females of the same age
Statistics from: “Suicide: Facts at a Glance.” CDC Division of Violence Prevention (2015)
“Suicide in the USA Fact Sheet Based on 2012 Data (2014).” American Association of Suicidology (2014)
“Suicide in the USA Fact Sheet Based on 2011 Data (2014).” American Association of Suicidology (2013)

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 out hair, etc.)

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS SUICIDAL?

1. Talk/listen

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION EXAMPLE

  • 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 EXAMPLE

  • 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.