New Report from CDC Shows Slight Rise in Attempted Suicide Among U.S. High School Students

However, Student Suicide Attempts Continue To Show A Downward Trend Over The Longer Term

06/13/2014

Centers for Disease Control

NEW YORK (June 13, 2014) — U.S. high school students, grades 9-12, have shown a slight increase from 7.8 percent to 8.0 percent from 2011 to 2013 in those students who have attempted suicide one or more times, according to the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In addition, youth who have seriously considered attempting suicide during this same period is 17 percent among high school students.

“We are disappointed to see the percentage of suicide attempts rise even a small amount among today’s high school students compared with the last survey two years ago,” said Christine Moutier, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “However, we are heartened by the decline over the larger period of time, and we continue to work to effect greater change. We see a continued need to increase public awareness of the causes of suicide and the interventions that help to prevent it.  It’s encouraging to know that today we are seeing an increased number of resources now available at the high school level for educators, students and their parents to begin conversations.”

The YRBS is a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with state, local and territorial entities to identify the health behaviors of today’s youth, such as eating habits, mental illness experiences, and drug and alcohol use among youths.

Findings from the 2013 survey shows minor shifts over the last report in 2011, and less than 1 percent change during the past 20 years in attempted suicide (one or more times) among youth. From 1993 to 2013, the percentage of high school students who attempted suicide one or more times fell from 8.6 percent to 8.0 percent.

The 2013 YRBS data are available at www.cdc.gov/yrbs.

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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP, www.afsp.org) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. To fully achieve its mission, AFSP engages in the following Five Core Strategies: Funds scientific research; Offers educational programs for professionals; Educates the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention; Promotes policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention; Provides programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk, and involves them in the work of the Foundation. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, AFSP has 65 local chapters with events nationwide. Review the Annual Report to learn more about AFSP’s life-saving work. Join the national conversation on suicide by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.