A national study on teenage suicide just confirms what many of us already know: adolescence can be very unkind to some kids.
Reuters reports that one in 25 American teens has attempted suicide while one in eight kids will think about ending their life. On a broader scale, that means that 12 percent of children have attempted to kill themselves while four percent have considered it. The researchers said that these findings squared with “the prevalence of lifetime suicidal thinking,” as well as suicide attempts by grownups.
The study of in-person interviews with nearly 6,500 teens doesn’t seem to reveal anything that researchers weren’t already aware of:
“What adults say is, the highest risk time for first starting to think about suicide is in adolescence,” said Matthew Nock, a psychologist who worked on the study at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The study, which included questionnaires by parents, determined that almost all suicidal kids had either a mental disorder (depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD) or drug/alcohol problems. But more alarmingly, over half of them were also receiving treatment:
“We know that a lot of the kids who are at risk and thinking about suicide are getting (treatment),” he told Reuters Health. However, “We don’t know how to stop them – we don’t have any evidence-based treatments for suicidal behavior.”
While Amy Brausch, a psychologist, says that the findings don’t necessarily mean that the treatment is ineffective, the researchers maintain “a lot of current methods” are not stopping suicidal behavior.
America is quite the dangerous place to grow up anyway. But suicide is the reported third leading cause of death for kids as young as 10 years old — taking 4,600 young people from us every year. Even one a year would be far too many.