The suicide rate among U.S. youth and young adults, ages 10 to 24, has risen in recent years, increasing by nearly 50 percent between 2007 and 2017, and reaching its highest point since 2000 according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017, 6769 suicides occurred among youth and young adults ages 10 to 24 years, of which 5375 were male and 1394 were female. (1,2) Early detection of suicide risk through screening is an important method of identifying those at risk. Research-based screening and assessment tools are available for use in multiple settings.
Definition: Suicide is defined as death from injury, poisoning, or suffocation where there is evidence that a self-inflicted act led to the person's death. It is important to recognize the warning signs of suicide, which include talking about harming or killing oneself. Knowing the risk factors and responding appropriately to warning signs can be effective at preventing youth suicide.
Magnitude of the Problem: Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24 and results in the loss of an average of 5,183 lives each year (CDC WISQARS). According to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey report:
- 17.7% of students, grade 9-12, reported that they had seriously considered suicide in the previous 12 months.
- 8.6% of students reported making at least one suicide attempt in the previous 12 months.
- 2.8% of students reported making at least one suicide attempt in the previous 12 months that required medical attention.
Prevention: Strategies for preventing youth suicides may include:
- enhancing protective factors,
- reducing risk factors,
- strengthening norms that support help-seeking behaviors,
- implementing screening and prevention activities for high-risk groups, and
- primary prevention of conditions such as depression, impulsive behavior, and drug or alcohol abuse.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online], Fatal Injury Reports, 2010-2015.
In 2015, injuries caused 13,363 deaths in U.S. children and adolescents aged 0-19. In addition, injuries were responsible for 200,225 hospitalizations and almost 7.7 million emergency department (ED) visits in this population (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], WISQARS, 2017). One important way to understand the burden of childhood injuries is by looking at the costs of those injuries.