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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Youth Suicide Rates Rising, Especially Among Young Teenage Girls

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A September edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reported that the U.S. suicide rate among preteens and teens rose to its highest rate in 15 years in 2004, with the biggest jump among 10 to 14 year-old girls. Between 1990 and 2003, the total suicide rate for 10-24 -year-olds declined by 28.5 percent to 6.78 deaths per 100,000 yet between 2003 and 2004, the overall rate for that age group climbed 8 percent to 7.32 deaths per 100,000, the largest single-year increase in 15 years. The study also found that suicide rates among 10-14-year-old girls doubled between 2003 and 2004, and the number of suicides among 15-19-year-olds of both sexes also increased.

It is important that parents and health care professionals, as well as teachers, coaches, and employers recognize the warning signs of depression and suicide in youth. The warning signs about suicide include talking about suicide or death, changes in eating or sleeping habits, and feeling sad or hopeless about the future. In 2004 approximately 161,000 youth and young adults received emergency medical care for self-inflicted injuries - so we cannot sit back and just pretend it cannot happen to us! Talk to your kids and get them in to see a counselor if you think something is going on that you do not know about!

Photo credit: aussie patches

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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