Youth Risk Survey Shows Surprisingly High Suicide Risk

May 2013

Since 1998, the Youth Risk Survey has been conducted across Massachusetts. Unfortunately, this year’s results showed a surprisingly high suicide risk among young people. As the Harvard Press reports, parents were shocked to learn that many teens had attempted or considered suicide.

Skip Simpson is a Dallas, TX suicide attorney who knows that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of the extent of the teen suicide risk. Recognizing that suicide is a major problem among young people is the first step to ensuring that kids get the help they need.

Teen Suicide Risk

According to the 2013 Youth Risk survey:

  • Fourteen percent of females and 12 percent of males in grades 9-12 indicated they had seriously considered suicide in the past twelve months.
  • Five percent of males and four percent of females in grades 9-12 indicated that they had attempted suicide in the past year.
  • Students in the class of 2014 were most likely to have seriously considered suicide in the prior year. As many as 16 percent of students in this grade level indicated that they had thought seriously about taking their own life.
  • Students in the class of 2013 were most likely to have attempted suicide in the prior year. Seven percent of students in these grade levels responding to the survey said they had tried to kill themselves.

The study, therefore, shows that many young people who responded are potentially at risk of dying by suicide if they act upon their suicidal tendencies or if they follow through and make a subsequent attempt to take their own life.

Local school districts have attempted to take proactive steps to curb the teen suicide risk that exists. Their efforts include a group of guidance counselors who meet weekly to discuss students who are potentially at-risk. Health and wellness courses also exist that are intended to cater to the needs of students, which will hopefully give kids an outlet if there are things that are troubling them.

Parents Need to be Aware of the Risks

While school involvement is important, it is essential for parents to be aware of the high risk of teen suicide and to be watchful of signs of suicidal tendencies in their children. Unfortunately, it can be very tricky to separate normal teen angst from a real risk of suicide, and parents are often not equipped to see and evaluate the signs of suicide in their children.

For those parents who have reason to suspect that their children are at-risk, seeking help from mental health professionals is typically the best course of action. Mental health professionals offering either in-patient or out-patient treatment should have special training in identifying a serious risk of suicide and  have a professional obligation both to warn of a potentially serious threat and also to help those who are contemplating death by suicide. Sadly many mental health professionals are not adequately trained in suicide. When parents meet with mental health professionals it is wise to ask the clinician what specific training they have in suicide prevention. Don’t be embarrassed to ask. If you are not satisfied with the clinician’s answer contact the American Association of Suicidology for help.

By getting help for kids who are struggling, parents can hopefully ensure that their children will not become one of the large percentage of teens who tries to take their own life.

If you lost a loved  one to suicide, contact the Dallas Law Offices of Skip Simpson, dedicated to holding mental health counselors accountable. Call 214-618-8222.

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