Youth Suicide

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Spring 2010 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ACADEMIC CENTER OF EXCELLENCE ON YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE Fact Sheet YOUTH SUICIDE by Michiko Otsuki, Tia Kim, and Paul Peterson Introduction Youth suicide is a major public health problem in the United States today. Each year in the U.S., thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds, and the fifth leading cause of death for 5-14 year olds. (American Foundation of Suicide Prevention [AFSP], 2010; National Center for Health Statistics [NCHS],2006) The reduction of adolescent suicide is one of the major objectives of the Healthy People 2010 Initiative (Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). Scope…show more content…
The home is the most common location for firearm suicides by youth (Brent et al., 1993). 2 Maladaptive coping skills Maladaptive coping skills and poor interpersonal skills limit adolescents’ ability to problem solve, thereby increasing the likelihood that suicide will be considered the only solution (McBride & Siegel, 1997). Early youth substance use also increases the risk of suicidal behaviors (Swahn, Bossarte, Ashby, & Meyers, 2009; Cho et al., 2007; Swahn et al., 2008; Swahn & Bossarte, 2007). Stressful life events Adolescents who attempt or complete suicide experience multiple negative life events (Reinhertz et al., 1995). The events may have occurred in childhood, such as physical and/or sexual abuse, neglect, separation and previous suicide attempts (King, O’Mara, Hayward, & Cunningham, 2009). These stressors often overwhelm the coping skills of the adolescent because of his/her inexperience with such life situations (Wagner, Cole, & Schwarzman, 1995). Other life events are also associated with suicide risk: interpersonal losses (e.g., breaking up with a boyfriend/girlfriend), legal or disciplinary problems (e.g., getting into trouble at schools or with a law enforcement agency), and

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