Youth Suicide Facts

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people (ages 15-19 and 15-24); only accidents and homicides occur more frequently.
  • As many as 4,000 young people die by suicide every year.
  • Annually, there are approximately 10 youth suicides for every 100,000 youth.
  • Each day, there are approximately 11 youth suicides.
  • Every 2 hours and 11 minutes, a person under the age of 25 completes suicide.
  • Males between 15 and 19 were 5 times more likely than females to complete suicide. Males between the ages of 20 and 24 were 6 times more likely than females to complete suicide (2002 data).
  • Firearms remain the most commonly used suicide method among youth, accounting for 52 percent of all completed suicides.
  • Research has shown that the access to and the availability of firearms is a significant factor in observed increases in rates of youth suicide.
  • For every completed suicide by youth, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made.
  • A prior suicide attempt is an important risk factor for an eventual completion.
  • Research has shown that most adolescent suicides occur after school hours and in the teen’s home.
  • Although rates vary somewhat by geographic locations, within a typical high school classroom, it is likely that three students (one boy and two girls) have made a suicide attempt in the past year.
  • Not all adolescent attempters may admit their intent. Therefore, any deliberate self-harming behaviors should be considered serious and in need of further evaluation.
  • Most adolescent suicide attempts are precipitated by interpersonal conflicts. The intent of the behavior appears to be to effect change in the behaviors or attitudes of others.
  • Repeat attempters (those making more than one nonfatal attempt) generally use their behavior as a means of coping with stress and tend to exhibit more chronic symptomology, poorer coping histories, and have a higher presence of suicidal and substance abusive behaviors in their family histories.

Visit www.suicidology.org for more information and detailed fact sheets.

Additional information for this fact sheet was gathered from:

Links for Statistics and Fact Sheets:

American Association of Suicidology
Reliable Information and Statistics About Suicide
www.suicidology.org

Centers for Disease Control ~ Healthy Youth
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey
www.cdc.gov

Missouri Information for Community Assessment (MICA)
State Data Profiles
http://health.mo.gov/data/mica/MICA

National Center for Injury Prevention & Control (WISCARS)
Injury Mortality Reports
www.cdc.gov

National Institute of Mental Health Suicide Research Consortium
Frequently Asked Questions
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml