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1310633 tn?1430227691

One in 25 U.S. teens has attempted suicide: study

(Reuters) - About one in 25 U.S. teens has attempted suicide, and one in eight has thought about it, according to a national study based on interviews with thousands of teens.

Researchers, whose findings appeared in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, said those numbers are similar to the prevalence of lifetime suicidal thinking and attempts reported by adults, suggesting that the teenage years are an especially vulnerable time.

"What adults say is, the highest risk time for first starting to think about suicide is in adolescence," said Matthew Nock, a psychologist who worked on the study at Harvard University.

The results are based on in-person interviews of close to 6,500 teens in the United States and questionnaires filled out by their parents. Along with asking youth about their suicidal thinking, plans and attempts, interviewers also determined which teens fit the bill for a range of mental disorders.

Just over 12 percent of the youth had thought about suicide. Four percent had made a suicide plan and four percent had attempted suicide.

Nock and his colleagues found that almost all teens who thought about or attempted suicide had a mental disorder, including depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or problems with drug or alcohol abuse.

More than half of the youth were already in treatment when they reported suicidal behavior, which Nock said was both encouraging and disturbing.

"We know that a lot of the kids who are at risk and thinking about suicide are getting (treatment)," he told Reuters Health. However, "We don't know how to stop them - we don't have any evidence-based treatments for suicidal behavior."

The findings leave many questions unanswered.

Because most youth who think about suicide never go on to make an actual plan or attempt, doctors need to get better at figuring out which ones are most at risk of putting themselves in danger, according to Nock.

Once those youth are identified, researchers will also have to determine the best way to treat them, since it's clear a lot of current methods aren't preventing suicidal behavior, he said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24, killing about 4,6000 young people annually.

Although girls are more likely to attempt suicide - a patter confirmed by Nock's study - boys have higher rates of death by suicide because they typically choose more deadly methods, such as guns.

SOURCE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/10/us-suicide-idUSBRE90904720130110
4 Responses
1310633 tn?1430227691
Very sad and disheartening.

If they only knew that their "teenage" years, in the grand scheme of things, is but a drop in the bucket of life, when compared to the joys they have ahead of them.

That said, the "joys" I mention, these days anyway, aren't nearly as joyous as they used to be... ie: unconscionably high taxes, high unemployment-rate, national debt that will hang over their head for life, an economy in the toilet, a 2-party system where nothing gets done, 50%+ divorce-rate, lower wages and higher prices on everything, dwindling petroleum production & supply, elevated crime rates, gun violence at every turn, wars, global-warming, global-cooling... paints a pretty bleak picture of what the future hold for them.

Wow... now I feel like killing MYSELF!
480448 tn?1426952138
So alarming. Our mental health system is substandard, for starters....and to make matters worse, I think we live is a much more complicated world than the simpler times a few decades ago.  These teens are trying to grow up so fast, they're desling with adult issues, with a maturity level that doesn't match.  Very sad.  
535822 tn?1443980380
Very sad findings ..I know that may teens find home life difficult and there are many problems between parents and children , much disconnect ..I think families need to become closer and help each other talk out problems, something teens are not good at doing ..
377493 tn?1356505749
I also think there is a lot more pressure on teens than there used to be.  They are becoming sexually active so young, many are coming home every day to an empty home with no one to talk to about whatever happened in their day that day.  Teens can be so dramatic - everything is an over the top situation.  Coming home to an empty home has to be stressful.  

I also think the bullying is far worse then we saw when I was a teen.  With all the social media, they can't ever escape it.

So much going on in their young lives - and it's so true El.  If only they could just see that whatever it is will pass.

NG - I also agree about the mental health care.  Depression needs to be recognized and treated.  

It's so sad - such a waste of a beautiful and promising young life, even if they don't realize it at the time.
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