Teenage Suicide : A Challenging Period Of Life

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Adolescence is a challenging period of life, when individuals undergo major physical and psychological changes between the ages of 10 and 19. This period is accompanied by many needs, all of which contribute to increased risk-taking in youth, such as suicidal behaviors. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24 in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014). Among this same age group, suicide accounts for 20% of all deaths annually. In a 2011 nationally representative sample of high school students, 15.8% of students reported that they had seriously considered attempting suicide during the last year, 12.8% reported that they made a plan about how they would attempt suicide, 7.8% reported that they had attempted suicide at least once, and 2.4% of students reported that they made a suicide attempt that required medical attention (CDC, 2012a). For every completed suicide among youth between the ages of 15 and 24, there are about 100-200 suicide attempts (Goldsmith et al., 2002). Suicide among adolescents also contributes to social and economic burden through a loss of productivity. Specifically, Yang and Lester (2007) estimated the costs of each youth between the ages of 15 and 24 who completed suicide as $1,022,950 from lost lifetime earnings in 2005. The CDC (2012b) Cost of Injury Module indicates that, in 2005, death by suicide for youth ages 10-19 resulted in approximately $8,482,000 in medical costs
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