Archive for October, 2021

Research Reveals Teens’ Thoughts & Plans Around Suicide

Silhouette of a depressed teenage girl sitting in a hallway

Recent research by the University of Washington and New York University has shown that more than one-third of high school students who reported engaging in some sort of suicidal behavior or ideation have gone on to attempt suicide.

The research was published in the Prevention Science journal and used the data from high schools across the country that had taken the National Youth Risk Behavior survey in 2015, 2017, or 2019. The researchers focused on the results of more than 7,500 high schoolers who stated they either had suicidal thoughts, a plan to end their life, or reported attempting suicide.

Examining the risk factors

The study showed that there were several risk factors, including bullying, depression, cigarette smoking, abuse of prescription drugs, or a history of sexual violence that increased the likelihood of a student moving from simple suicidal ideation into a suicide attempt.

Identifying and isolating the behaviors and risk factors is crucial to helping ensure that prevention measures are targeted at the right people, said the study’s lead author Meghan Romanelli, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Washington.

“Most adolescents who think about suicide don’t go on to attempt it, so in the analysis, we wanted to separate out adolescents who attempted suicide from those who thought about suicide but did not attempt in order to identify what factors may have put youth at higher risk,” Romanelli said. “These differences are important because it allows us to deploy prevention and intervention efforts that are targeted to the adolescent’s level of risk.”

What the study revealed

Of the roughly 7,500 students examined in the study, about 25 percent of them said they had considered suicide. About 38% said they had created a plan to end their life but did not follow through with suicide attempted, and 35% said they’d thought about suicide, created a plan for suicide, and then attempted suicide. In addition, 3% of respondents said they had a spur-of-the-moment suicide attempt without any prior thoughts or plans.

The study also noted higher risks of suicide attempts in certain populations. Hispanic and Latino youth were 1.6 times more likely to report a suicide attempt with thoughts and plans as opposed to having suicidal thoughts only, and four times as likely to report a suicide attempt with just ideation and no plan. Young men, in general, were more likely to report attempting suicide without any thoughts or plans. A feeling of hopelessness was common, among young people who thought about suicide or had attempted suicide with thoughts and plans

Funding for the study came from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Legal help is available

Although the research can help people look for warning signs, too many people continue to lose loved ones to suicide completion. The Law Offices of Skip Simpson has the experience and knowledge to investigate the circumstances of suicide and advise families on how to proceed during an extraordinarily difficult time. Although our law firm is based in Texas, we serves clients nationwide. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one who ended their life by suicide, contact attorney Skip Simpson today.