information on Youth & Suicide.
Now a word from
Related issues: Teen
Text Line 741741
Together We Can Save Lives!
Suicide is one of the leading
causes of preventable death in our nation today. We
lose an average of more than 100 young people each
week to this tragedy that can be
How can it be prevented you
may ask? The Jason Foundation, Inc. believes that
education is the key to prevention. The Jason
Foundations programs and services are in
response to this belief. Our nation should be
familiar with the warning signs associated with
suicide, suicide facts & statistics, and how to
find help for at-risk youth. Together, we can save
Remember: Never be reluctant
to get involved and always take any
child/adolescents desire or intent to harm
themselves seriously. If you suspect a young person
of suicidal ideation, get them to professional help
immediately. Suicide is Preventable
If you or someone you know are experiencing a
crisis, call 911.
If you or a friend need to
talk with a counselor for help or for resources
available in your area, call the National Suicide
Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or
the Crisis Text Line 7411741, free, 24-hour
hotlines available to anyone in suicidal crisis or
emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the
nearest crisis center to you.
Four out of five teens who attempt suicide give
clear warning signs.
Warning Signs of suicidal
ideation include, but are not limited, to the
- Talking about
- Making statements about
feeling hopeless, helpless, or
- A deepening
- Preoccupation with
- Taking unnecessary risks
or exhibiting self-destructive
- Out of character
- A loss of interest in the
things one cares about
- Visiting or calling
people one cares about
- Making arrangements;
setting ones affairs in order
- Giving prized possessions
Along with these warning
signs, there are certain Risk Factors that can
elevate the possibility of suicidal
- Gay and Lesbian
- Learning disabled
- Youth with low self-
- Students in serious
- Abused, Molested or
- Parental history of
violence, substance abuse, or
You may be the first and
last person to see these signs in a young
are, if you do nothing, you will regret it for the
rest of your life.
For middle and high school age youth (ages
12-18), suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death.
For college age youth (ages
18-22), suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death.
Over-all, suicide is the 2nd
leading cause of death for our youth ages 10-24.
In ages 10-14, we have seen
an alarming increase of more than 150% in suicides
since 1981 , making it the third leading cause of
death for that age group.
More teenagers and young
adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart
disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia,
influenza, and chronic lung disease,
Each day in our nation, there
are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young
people grades 7-12.
Four out of Five teens who
attempt suicide have given clear warning
The Youth Risk Behavioral
Surveillance System (YRBS) is a survey, conducted
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
that includes national, state, and local
school-based representative samples of 9th through
12th grade students. The purpose is to monitor
priority health risk behaviors that contribute to
the leading causes of death, disability, and social
problems among youth in the United States. The
surveys are conducted every two years to determine
the prevalence of these health risk behaviors.
Behaviors that contribute to unhealthy lifestyles
and those that indicate possible depression and/or
suicidal ideation are included. Click here to see
the full report.
Suicide does not typically have a sudden onset.
There are a number of stressors that can contribute
to a youths anxiety and unhappiness,
increasing the possibility of a suicide attempt. A
number of them are described below.
Depression, Mental Illness
and Substance Abuse
One of the most telling risk
factors for youth is mental illness. Mental or
addictive disorders are associated with 90% of
suicides. One in ten youth suffer from mental
illness serious enough to be impaired, yet fewer
than 20 percent receive treatment. In fact, 60% of
those who complete suicide suffer from depression.
Alcohol and drug use, which clouds judgment, lowers
inhibitions, and worsens depression, are associated
with 50-67% of suicides.
Recent research has
identified a connection between interpersonal
violence and suicide. Suicide is associated with
fighting for both males and females, across all
ethnic groups, and for youth living in urban,
suburban, and rural areas.
Within the home, a lack of
cohesion, high levels of violence and conflict, a
lack of parental support and alienation from and
within the family.
Youth with high levels of
exposure to community violence are at serious risk
for self-destructive behavior. This can occur when
a youth models his or her own behavior after what
is experienced in the community. Additionally, more
youth are growing up without making meaningful
connections with adults, and therefore are not
getting the guidance they need to help them cope
with their daily lives.
Youth who are struggling with
classes, perceive their teachers as not
understanding them or caring about them, or have
poor relationships with their peers have increased
Youth who have attempted
suicide are at risk to do it again. In fact, they
are eight times more likely than youth who have
never attempted suicide to make another suicide
Changes in gender roles and
expectations, issues of conformity and
assimilation, and feelings of isolation and
victimization can all increase the stress levels
and vulnerability of individuals. Additionally, in
some cultures (particularly Asian and Pacific
cultures), suicide may be seen as a rational
response to shame.
A history of mental illness
and suicide among immediate family members place
youth at greater risk for suicide. Exacerbating
these circumstances are changes in family structure
such as death, divorce, remarriage, moving to a new
city, and financial instability.
Self-mutilation or self-harm
behaviors include head banging, cutting, burning,
biting, erasing, and digging at wounds. These
behaviors are becoming increasingly common among
youth, especially female youth. While self-injury
typically signals the occurrence of broader
problems, the reason for this behavior can vary
from peer group pressure to severe emotional
disturbance. Although help should be sought for any
individual who is causing self-harm, an appropriate
response is crucial. Because most self-mutilation
behaviors are not suicide attempts, it is important
to be cautious when reaching out to the youth and
not to make assumptions.
Approximately 40% of youth
suicides are associated with an identifiable
precipitating event, such as the death of a loved
one, loss of a valued relationship, parental
divorce, or sexual abuse. Typically, these events
coincide with other risk factors.
Suicide is 100% preventable. Speak up.
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