The Montgomery County (PA) Department of Behavioral Health recently released statistics on teen suicides in the county. “While the rate for 15-24-year-olds is lower than any of the adult age groups, it’s over 10 times higher than that of younger children,” as stated in the June 2016 report from the Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Task Force. “So something happens, very suddenly and intensely, to youth as they move from elementary/middle school age to high school/college age. And despite the low percentage of completed suicides in this age group, anecdotal data shows the percentage of youth struggling is far higher.”
In a poll conducted by Hope 4 Tomorrow, students were asked to respond to the following question: “Have you ever had thoughts of wanting to end your life?” Possible answers were: Yes, at some point; Maybe, but unsure if I wanted to die; No, Never.
53% said “Yes” or “Maybe”. This suggests the number of young people struggling is much higher than those who actually complete suicide.
The implications are as follows:
- The large number of students reporting thoughts of suicide is much larger than those who actually complete suicide
- This suggests that while the overall suicide rate for young people is (comparably) low, the need to provide support for this age group remains high
- Suicide-prevention interventions may have unintended positive effects outside of suicide rate reduction
Minding Your Mind offers suicide prevention training for schools and communities. Please use the “Book A Speaker” link at the top of this page to schedule a program.