Suicide is a serious public health problem among all age groups. Among youth, it exacts an enormous toll due to the significant years of potential life lost. In 2018, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among 10- to 24 year-olds.
Youth suicidal ideation, attempt and completion are on the rise. Far more adolescents have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide and survive than those who die by suicide. Results from the 2019 Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System show that 18.8% of high school students seriously considered attempting suicide and 8.9% actually attempted suicide. The cost of suicide attempts in the United States in 2019 was estimated to be $70 billion.
Risk factors associated with suicide among adolescents include:
Psychiatric disorders such as major depressive, bipolar, substance use and conduct disorders.
Psychiatric comorbidity, especially the combination of mood, disruptive and substance abuse disorders.
Family history of depression or suicide.
Loss of a parent to death or divorce.
Physical and/or sexual abuse.
Lack of a support network.
Feelings of social isolation.