Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 1997. HC 2.7 Suicidal teens

04/01/1997

Suicide is a major cause of death among American youth (see Section HC 1.2.C). Attempted suicide has been related to mental health problems including depression and adjustment or stress reactions, as well as to substance abuse.24

In 1995, 24 percent of youth in grades nine through 12 report having seriously considered suicide during the previous 12 months (see Table HC 2.7.A). During the same time period, nine percent, or one in eleven, report having actually attempted suicide during the previous year (see Table HC 2.7.B). These rates are considerably higher than the proportion of youth who actually commit suicide (see Section HC 1.2.C).

Rates for contemplation of suicide range from 29 percent in 1991 to 24 percent in 1993 and 1995 (see Table HC 2.7.A). The percentage of youth who report actually attempting suicide has remained around nine percent in recent years (see Table HC 2.7.B).

Differences by Race/Ethnicity.25 Black youths report somewhat lower rates of considering suicide in comparison with their white and Hispanic peers (20 percent for black youth versus 25 percent for both whites and Hispanics in 1995). Rates of reported attempted suicide are similar across the three groups, ranging from eight to ten percent.

Differences by Gender. In 1995, female youth were more likely than male youth to report having thought seriously about suicide (30 percent versus 18 percent) and having attempted suicide (12 percent versus six percent) during the previous year (see Figure HC 2.7). However, the rate of actual suicides, particularly among teens ages 15 to 19, are considerably higher for males than for females, as discussed in section HC 1.2.C.
 
 

Figure HC 2.7  
Suicide: Percentage of Students in Grades 9-12 Who Report Having Seriously Considered or Attempted Suicide in the Previous 12 Months: 1995 

HC2_7.GIF

Source: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States 1995. In: CDC Surveillance Summaries, MMWR 1996; Vol. 45 (No. 55-4): 1-85.
 

Table HC 2.7.A 
Suicidal Teens: Percentage of Teens in Grades 9-12 Who Report Having Seriously Considered Suicide in the Previous 12 Months: For Selected Years 1990-1995

 
     
1990
1991
1993
1995
     
 
 
 
 
Total
27
29
24
24
    Male
21
21
19
18
    Female
34
37
30
30
  Grade
 
 
9
30
29
24
26
    10
26
30
25
25
    11
29
32
25
26
    12
33
26
23
20
  Race/Ethnic Group
    White non-Hispanic
28
30
24
25
    Black non-Hispanic
20
22
20
20
    Hispanic
30
27
26
25
 
Source: Data for 1990 from "1990-1991 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reprints, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data for 1991 from Public Health Reports, Vol. 108, Supplement 1, U.S. Public Health Service. Data for 1993 from "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance- United States 1993," Vol. 44, No. SS-1, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data for 1995 from Kann, L., Warren, C.W., Harris, W.A., Collins, J.L., Williams, B.I., Ross, J.G., and Kolbe, L.J. "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance -- United States, 1995." In: CDC Surveillance Summaries, September 27, 1996. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1996; 45 (No. 55-4): 1-85. All data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys 1990-1995.

 

Table HC 2.7.B 
Suicidal Teens: Percentage of Teens in Grades 9-12 Who Report Having Attempted Suicide in the Previous 12 Months: Selected Years, 1990-1995

 
     
1990
1991
1993
1995
     
 
 
 
 
Total
8
7
9
9
    Male
6
4
5
6
    Female
10
11
13
12
  Grade
    9
9
9
10
11
    10
9
8
9
10
    11
8
6
8
9
    12
7
6
7
6
  Race/Ethnic Group
    White non-Hispanic
8
7
8
8
    Black non-Hispanic
7
7
8
10
    Hispanic
12
8
14
13
 
Source: Data for 1990 from "1990-1991 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reprints, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data for 1991 from Public Health Reports, Vol. 108, Supplement 1, U.S. Public Health Service. Data for 1993 from "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance- United States 1993," Vol. 44, No. SS-1, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data for 1995 from Kann, L., Warren, C.W., Harris, W.A., Collins, J.L., Williams, B.I., Ross, J.G., and Kolbe, L.J. "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance -- United States, 1995." In: CDC Surveillance Summaries, September 27, 1996. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 1996; 45 (No. 55-4): 1-85. All data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys 1990-1995.

 

24 Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration. Report of the Secretarys Task Force on Youth Suicide. Publication No. (ADM)899-1621. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1989. Cited in Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives, Conference Edition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1990.

25 Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races.
 

View full report

Preview
Download

"97intro.pdf" (pdf, 97.9Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"97-sec1.pdf" (pdf, 163.75Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"97-sec2.pdf" (pdf, 235.24Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"97-sec3.pdf" (pdf, 269.73Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"97-sec4.pdf" (pdf, 331.35Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"97-sec5.pdf" (pdf, 202.8Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®