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Youth Suicide

June 12, 1981

Report Outline
Prevalence Among the Young
Depression: A Leading Cause
Evaluation and Intervention
Special Focus

Prevalence Among the Young

Theories About Rising U.S. Incidence

This year more than 5,000 young Americans can be expected to kill themselves. Suicide has increasingly taken a heavier toll among the nation's youth, trailing only accidents and homicides as the leading cause of death for those between ages 15 and 24. Even younger children are sometimes unhappy enough to take their own lives; the National Center for Health Statistics reported almost 2,000 documented cases of suicide among children under 14 during a 13-year period ending in 1978, the latest year for which official figures are available.

Though official statistics are lacking for more recent years, mental health professionals do not discern any decline in the incidence of youth suicide. Some experts say that there are two to three suicides for every one recorded. The National Center for Health Statistics does not document suicide trends for children under 10, yet these children are believed to be committing suicide in increasing numbers. Also, many suicides are reported as accidents either to protect the families involved or because the coroner's office had no evidence of intentional death. For example, life-threatening risks that end in death are sometimes considered suicides in disguise, or “sneaky suicides.”

Many more teen-agers attempt suicide than commit it. Dr. Michael Peck, director of youth services at the Suicide Prevention Center in Los Angeles, believes that as many as 50,000 young people may attempt suicide in the United States each year and about a million or more children have suicidal crises, thoughts and episodes. Peck's research suggests that “up to 10 percent of the youngsters in any public school classroom may be considered at some risk for suicide.”

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Jun. 26, 2009  Treating Depression
Feb. 13, 2004  Youth Suicide
Feb. 06, 2004  Mental Illness Medication Debate
Mar. 29, 2002  Mental Health Insurance
Feb. 08, 2002  Treating Anxiety
Jul. 16, 1999  Childhood Depression
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Sep. 12, 1997  Mental Health Policy
Aug. 19, 1994  Prozac
Aug. 06, 1993  Mental Illness
Oct. 09, 1992  Depression
Jun. 14, 1991  Teenage Suicide
Jul. 08, 1988  Biology Invades Psychology
Feb. 13, 1987  The Mentally Ill
Aug. 20, 1982  Mental Health Care Reappraisal
Jun. 12, 1981  Youth Suicide
Sep. 21, 1979  Mental Health Care
Sep. 15, 1978  Brain Research
Jul. 05, 1974  Psychomedicine
Aug. 08, 1973  Emotionally Disturbed Children
Dec. 27, 1972  Mental Depression
Mar. 24, 1972  Schizophrenia: Medical Enigma
Apr. 21, 1971  Approaches to Death
Mar. 03, 1971  Encounter Groups
Nov. 25, 1970  Psychological Counseling of Students
Feb. 19, 1969  Future of Psychiatry
Feb. 02, 1966  New Approaches to Mental Illness
Jan. 22, 1964  Insanity as a Defense
Sep. 25, 1963  Anatomy of Suicide
Nov. 20, 1957  Drugs and Mental Health
Apr. 23, 1954  Mental Health Programs
Jul. 09, 1948  Mental Health
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Mental Health
Special Education
Teenagers
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