According to a new study released this week by the Washington State Department of Health, a stunning 20 percent of tweens (youth 10-13) and teenagers have considered committing suicide. There have even been some indications of rising rates below that age as well.

Between grades 6 and 8, such considerations have risen by six percent over the last decade, while high school rates have risen 8 percent during the same time.

According to the study:

"The survey results show a higher percentage of girls (26 percent) think about suicide, with 13 percent attempting it, compared to 14 percent of boys who contemplate suicide and 7 percent who attempt it."

The Healthy Youth Study (HYS) was conducted among youth and high school students during the fall of 2016. The DOH does the study each year to determine what is needed for youth and teen support programs.

Last year, some 60,000 received state-supported services or treatment in the area of mental health.

According to the study, some ways the parents, families and friends can help spot signs of potential suicide, or help prevent it include:

"Know how to recognize suicide warning signs in tweens and teens such as:

  • Talk of suicide, being a burden to others, or saying they have no reason to live or feel trapped;
  • Showing symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. Being irritable, showing signs of rage, humiliation or a sudden loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy;
  • Exhibiting behaviors such as increased use of alcohol or drugs, acting recklessly, sleeping too much or too little, giving away prized possessions, visiting or calling people to say goodbye."

If your teen is in crisis, you don’t have to handle the situation alone. In an emergency, dial 911. You can get information, emotional support and referrals by calling the Washington Recovery Help Line at 866-789-1511, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK or get information from TeenLink at 866-833-6546.


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