Many people overlook the problem of teen suicide. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that the number of teen suicides has been increasing in recent years. There are more pressures on teenagers than ever before, and many of them are having trouble coping with the demands that are placed on them. Another problem is that suicide is starting to take on a sort of dark glamour as some social networking Web sites feature suicide pacts among its members.
But, whatever the causes of teen suicide, it is important to note that the pressures of teenage living can lead to suicide. The CDC reports that 60 percent of high school students claim that they have though about committing suicide, and around nine percent of them say that they have tried killing themselves at least once.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):
- 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.
- 14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide,
- 900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.
While suicide does not seem terribly common, it is nevertheless a major cause of death. The CDC reports that it is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24. The only two things that cause more death among teenagers are accidents (usually in the car) and homicide. And even younger children do not escape. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 14.
Gender differences in teen suicide
Teen suicide statistics show differences in the ways boys and girls handle suicide. While girls think about attempted suicide about twice as much as boys, boys are actually four times more likely than girls to actually die by killing themselves.
The disparity in the number of “successful” suicide attempts between boys and girls is probably explained by the methods that each use when attempting to kill themselves.
Girls who attempt suicide are more likely to try killing themselves by overdosing on pills or by cutting themselves. Cutting is a behavior that is more common among girls. Additionally, overdosing on pills is a less violent way to commit suicide. Some girls even choose pills because it allows them time to “stage” their appearance before. Some girls find it more “romantic” to die in such a way.
Boys are more likely to choose a method of attempted suicide that is more lethal – and quick. Boys more often use guns (60 percent of all suicides in the United States make use of a gun), jump from great heights or hang themselves. This is why they are more likely to die in a suicide attempt. By the time someone discovers a problem, it is usually too late to prevent death.
It is important to recognize the gender differences in teen suicide. It may help you prevent suicide down the road if you understand the different methods that are most likely to be employed in suicide. It is also important to realize that 90 percent of those who kill themselves actually have depression or some other mental health issue. It is important to understand this in order to prevent teen suicide.
Even though the suicide rate did go down briefly between the early 1990s and the early 2000s, it is worth noting that the teen suicide trend is reversing. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports that teen suicide in 15 to 24 year olds has increased at a rate of about six percent. For those aged 10 to 14, that increase has been 100 percent. Teen suicide statistics show that there is a clear need to keep watch over teenagers, and be prepare to help them through tough times.
- Low self esteem
- High rates of school absence
- Physical illness
Teens who commit suicide often suffer from depression. Experts hesitate to say that bullying is a direct cause of suicide, but it may be a factor in a teen’s depression.
Centers for Disease Control, “teen suicides report” [online]
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), [online]