Suicide is today the second leading cause of death among youth age 15-24. (youth.gov). According to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of suicide among those aged 10 to 24 increased by nearly 60% between 2007 and 2018. Approximately one out of every 15 high school students reports attempting suicide each year. One out of every 53 high school students reports having made a suicide attempt that was serious enough to be treated by a doctor or a nurse. And for each suicide death among young people, there may be as many as 100 to 200 suicide attempts.
Suicidal behavior emanates from multiple risk factors. Mental health conditions are often seen as the cause, but other problems often contribute to suicide, including issues related to alcohol and substance use. According to a study made by Esang & Ahed (2018), individuals with alcohol dependence and persons who use drugs have a 10–14 times greater risk of death by suicide, respectively, and approximately 22% of deaths by suicide have involved alcohol intoxication.
Other studies that have examined risk factors among people who have completed suicide have also shown that substance use occurs as a risk-factor more frequently among youth and adults than among older persons (HHS.gov).
Warning Signs of Suicide
If someone you know is showing one or more of the following behaviors, he or she may be thinking about suicide. Don’t ignore these warning signs. Get help immediately.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. When you call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), you are connected to the nearest crisis center in a national network of more than 150 that provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals day and night. The Lifeline also provides informational materials, such as brochures, wallet cards, posters, and booklets. Prestamos servicios en español (1-888-628-9454). Translators speaking approximately 150 languages are available.
Resources and Information on Suicide from SAMHSA
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. SAMHSA funds and supports the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
Resources and Information on Suicide from CDC
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a technical package, Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices pdf icon[6.11 MB, 62 Pages, 508] that provides information on the best available evidence for suicide prevention. This technical package represents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential to prevent suicide.