The holidays. I love ‘em, but not everybody does. Sadly, the incidence of suicide peaks at this time of year, especially among the elderly and the nation’s youth.
Here are the facts:
• Suicide ranks as the third leading cause of death for young people (ages 15-19 and 15-24); only accidents and homicides occur more frequently.
• Whereas suicides account for 1.3% of all deaths in the U.S. annually, they comprise 12.3% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds.
• Each year, there are approximately 10 suicides for every 100,000 youth.
• Approximately 11 young people between the ages of 15-24 die every day by suicide.
• Every 2 hours and 15 minutes, a person under the age of 25 completes suicide.
• Suicide rates among 15-24 year olds have more than doubled in the last 50 years. They have declined 25.6% since 1995.
• In the past 60 years, the suicide rate has quadrupled for boys 15 to 24 years old, and doubled for girls of the same age (CDC, 2002).
• Boys between the ages of 20 and 24 were 6.6 times more likely than girlss to complete suicide 2001. Boyss between 15 and 19 were 4.8 times more likely than girlss to complete suicide (2001 data).
• The boy to girl ratio of completed suicides was 5: 1 among 15-19 year olds and 6.9: 1 among 20-24 year olds (2000 data).
• Firearms are the most commonly used suicide method among kids, regardless of race or gender, accounting for almost three of five (57%) completed suicides.
• Access to and availability of firearms is a significant factor in the increase of youth suicide. Guns in the home are deadly to its occupants!
• For every completed suicide by a child, 100 to 200 attempts are made. In grades 9 through 12, 8.8% of students attempted suicide in the previous 12 months (6.2% male and 12.2% female). These numbers decrease from grades 9 (10.7%) to 12 (5.5%). A prior suicide attempt is an important risk factor for an eventual completion.