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Suicide

Narrative

In 2009, the latest year for which mortality data were available, suicide was the third leading cause of death among persons aged 15-24 years, resulting in over 4,300 deaths, for a rate of 10.2 deaths per 100,000 population. The most common methods used in suicides of adolescents and young adults include firearms (45.6 percent), suffocation (38.6 percent), and poisoning (8.0 percent).1

In 2011, data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System showed that 15.8 percent of high school students had seriously considered attempting suicide during the 12 months prior to the survey. Younger students, those in 9th and 10th grade, were more likely than the oldest students to consider suicide (17.1 and 16.5 percent, respectively versus 13.6 percent). Female students were more likely than males to have considered suicide at each grade level, with the exception of 11th grade, in which no significant difference by sex was observed.

In the same year, 7.8 percent of high school students reported having attempted suicide one or more times in the past 12 months, reflecting a significant increase since 2009 (6.3 percent). Overall, females (9.8 percent) were more likely to report at least one suicide attempt than males (5.8 percent; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). The proportion of students who reported having attempted suicide also varied by race/ethnicity. Non-Hispanic White students were less likely to report attempted suicide (6.2 percent) than students of all other racial and ethnic groups. Female students were significantly more likely to report attempted suicide among all racial and ethnic groups except non-Hispanic Blacks and students of more than one race (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Accessed: July 2012.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

high school students who considered suicide graph

This image is described in the Data section.

high school students who attempted suicide graph

Data

High School Students Who Considered Attempting Suicide in the Past 12 Months, by Grade Level and Sex, 2011
Grade Percent of Students
Total Male Female
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Online: High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Accessed: 08/05/12.
Total 15.8 12.5 19.3
9th Grade 17.1 12.9 21.5
10th Grade 16.5 11.4 22.3
11th Grade 15.5 14.3 16.7
12th Grade 13.6 11.5 15.8

High School Students Who Attempted Suicide One or More Times in the Past 12 Months, by Race/Ethnicity, 2011

Percent of students:

  • Total: 7.8
  • Non-Hispanic White: 6.2
  • Non-Hispanic Black: 8.3
  • Hispanic: 10.2
  • Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native: 14.7
  • Non-Hispanic Asian: 10.8
  • Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/ Other Pacific Islander: 9.9
  • Non-Hispanic Multiple Races: 11.6

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Online: High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Accessed: 08/05/12.