Think teen suicide is just a small problem? It’s not. It’s a huge problem.
- Every 2 hours and 11 minutes, a person under the age of 25 completes suicide.
- Twenty-four percent of high school students have seriously thought about attempting suicide.(© 2006 Child Study Center, NYU School of Medicine)
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds and the sixth leading cause of death for 5 – 15 year olds. –(American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
- More teenagers and young adults died as a result of suicide in 1999 than cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, birth defects, stroke and chronic lung disease combined. – (U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
- For every older teen and young adult who takes his or her own life, 100-200 of their peers attempts suicide. Between 500,000 and 1 million young people attempt suicide each year. – (American Association of Suicidology)
- Of a 2011, national sample of students in high school (9th-12th grade), 15.8% reported that they seriously considered attempting suicide, 12.8% reported creating a plan, and 7.8% had attempted suicide 1 or more times (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control [CDC], 2012).
- Suicide among males is 4 times higher than among females; however females are more likely than males to have suicidal thoughts (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2012).
There are many reasons why teens become suicidal. A suicide rarely has just one cause.
The teen/tween years are a very stressful time for many children. Untreated mental illness, especially depression, is the leading cause for suicide. Many people who commit suicide suffer from untreated or poorly treated depression resulting from difficult life experiences.These life experiences might include, bullying, family changes or illness, loss of family or friends, and feeling lonely, helpless, hopeless or depressed.
Are bullying and suicide related? StopBullying.gov says:
- Children and youth who are involved in bullying are more likely than those who aren’t involved in bullying to be depressed, have high levels of suicidal thoughts, and have attempted suicide.
- Children who bully and who also are bullied by their peers (often referred to as “bully-victims”) are at the greatest risk for suicidal thoughts and behavior.
I know that my daughter’s suicide attempt was directly related to being bullied. I think it’s time we start taking bullying more seriously and stop paying lip service to anti-bullying programs and follow through. As in the case of Daniel Briggs, his parents reported bullying to school over 50 times, and yet, the situation ended in suicide.
We need real accountability for bullies, and those who know about bullying and do nothing about it.