Youth Risk Behavior Survey
The most recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of teenagers in grades nine through twelve, in both public and private schools, found:
• 17.7 percent of students reported seriously considering suicide in the previous month!
• Of those, 14.6 percent had made a plan as to how they would attempt suicide
• 8.6 percent had attempted suicide at least once
• 2.8 percent had made a suicide attempt that led to poisoning, injury, or an overdose
No complete count is kept of suicide attempts in the United States; however, each year the CDC gathers data from hospitals on nonfatal injuries from self-harm. And that estimate, say many experts, is low. Why? There’s a big stigma around suicide. You know, it’s one of those hush-hush subjects that gets pushed under the rug. People don’t like to talk about suicide. And they don’t want to report it.
• • •
There’s a big stigma around suicide.
• • •
It may surprise you (or maybe not) that females attempt suicide three times more often than males. But males are four times more likely to die by suicide.
“Sophomore year was rigorous academically. I just gave up.”— J., 18
“It’s hard trying to figure out my outside interests.”— M., 13
“We just try to be our own person but we don’t know how to cope.”— Lily, now 20
Even in the best of times, you and your peers are faced with an avalanche of changes and expectations. Parents expect you to become an independent person, capable of making your own decisions and taking care of yourself. Teachers and parents expect you to decide what to do after graduation and how to do it. Your friends expect you to fit in. As if that’s not enough, your body has no idea what to expect. One day you’re up; the next day, you’re down. And dare we throw in the political climate with all its tension and mistrust? It can get rough out there. Some authors have even called the world you’re living in the “age of anxiety.”
“What’s happening now will determine our future. I worry about social and environmental justice. I work as an intern for Planned Parenthood because they provide such important basic health care. And I worry that it will be defunded. That’s why I want my voice to be heard.” — Lia, 16
According to the CDC study referenced above of seven thousand high school students, one out of every five teens reported severe problems with self-esteem, feelings of failure, alienation, loneliness, lack of self-confidence, and thoughts of suicide.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish