Suicide is an important public health risk that affects every age group, even young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between ages 10 and 24.
Suicide results in approximately 4,600 deaths each year. In addition, did you know:
- More youth die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.
- Each day in the United States, there are on average over 5,400 suicide attempts by young people grades 7-12.
- Over 20 percent of high school students have seriously considered suicide.
- Depression that is untreated, undiagnosed, or ineffectively treated is the number 1 cause of suicide.
- 4 out of 5 teenagers who attempt suicide gave clear warning signs.
“Suicide is a national public health problem,” says David Satcher, M.D., former Surgeon General of the United States. “Suicide is our most preventable form of death.” There are several factors that can put a young person at risk for suicide, though having a risk factor does not always mean that suicide will occur.
Risk factors include:
- A history of suicide attempts
- A family history of suicide
- A history of depression or other mental illnesses
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Stressful life events or a loss
- Easy access to lethal methods
- Exposure to suicidal behavior of others
September 10, 2014 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide can be an uncomfortable topic for many, resulting in poor communication about suicide and mental illness. The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). and the World Health Organization are committed to lifting this stigma in order to raise awareness and prevent suicide. On World Suicide Prevention Day, everyone in the community is encouraged to focus public attention through various activities that bring understanding to suicide causes and prevention.
There are plenty of activities and resources for teens, parents, teachers, and families to get involved with, including:
- Like the Facebook page for the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and the World Suicide Prevention Day page. Invite friends and families to like the pages and stay updated on events and activities.
- Add a banner to your blog or social media site to bring awareness to World Suicide Prevention Day.
- Read up on events and activities taking place all around the world to come up with more ideas.
- Download the World Suicide Prevention Day 2014 Press Package, which includes a suicide prevention fact sheet you can share with friends, family, classrooms, or the media, available on the IASP website.
- Download the World Suicide Prevention Day Toolkit, which includes links and information you can share with others, which is also available on the IASP website.
- Teens can chose from a variety of fun campaigns designed by dosomething.org which emphasize raising self-esteem and empowering your friends.
- Explore some of the CDC’s anti-violence campaigns which raise awareness about violence and suicide.