Youth Suicide Prevention: Learn the Facts

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Throughout this month, we encourage you to help us spread the facts about suicide and educate yourself on how to help those who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts.  

First, let’s explore some of the facts. 

Rates of death by suicide in all ages rose by 25 percent from 1999 to 2016. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-34.  More than one out of six high school students who were surveyed reported that they had seriously considered attempting suicide; 13.6 percent reported they had made a plan for how they would attempt suicide and 7.4 percent reported they had actually attempted suicide in the previous 12 months. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth are at higher risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Close to half of students identifying as LGBT reported seriously considering suicide.  

To find more information and statistics about suicide in the US, refer to this fact sheet.

Young women holding up daisies

Helping suicidal youth get care can be lifesaving. So, what can you do 

  1.  Get trained in Mental Health First Aid 

Mental Health First aid is an early intervention public education program that was designed to extend the idea of traditional first aid training to mental health and substance use challenges. Learn more about the Youth Mental Health First Aid training and request one here. Advocating for suicide prevention is also always helpful, as you spread awareness on this increasingly important topic. Get involved with your local American Foundation for Suicide Prevention chapter and start spreading awareness!

  1. Educate yourself on the 5 signs of emotional suffering, and take the pledge to get help if you or a loved one needs assistance.  

Whether you’re at school, home or in social settings, there are  signs or behaviors to look out for that may indicate that a youth is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors At school, adults may notice a youth missing class, not putting effort into schoolwork, fighting with peers or teachers or experiencing intense anger and/or crying spells. At home, take note if a youth is spending more time alone or avoiding family time, is frequently sad or angry, talks about death or not wanting to be alive or engages in intense arguments with family members. In social settings, adults may see a youth rarely spending time with or avoiding friends, not caring about things they used to love, experiencing frequent moodiness, using alcohol or drugs or partaking in reckless behavior. 

  1. Access additional resources: 

  • UNH Extension has outlined several national and N.H.-specific mental health services. LEARN MORE >
  • Text the Mental Health First Aid  crisis text line for free crisis counseling, 24/7. Text “MHFA” to 741741 or visit www.crisistextline.org/  

Author(s)

Laura Alimayu
Healthy Living Field Specialist
Asst Field Specialist
Phone: (978) 606-8404
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824

Melissa Lee
Youth & Family Resiliency Field Specialist
Assoc Field Specialist
Phone: (603) 255-3556 ext. 809
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824