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Indicator

teen suicide rate

 

Significance of indicator: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for teens. Furthermore, suicide attempts are one of the leading causes of serious teen injuries. Travis County had a higher suicide death rate for ages 15-24 than the state overall (2006-2007).  Nationwide in 2009, 6.3% of high school students had attempted suicide one or more times - Texas is higher, with a range between 6.9% and 7.8%.

How we are doing on this indicator: In 2006 and 2007, the Travis County rate of youth suicides was 10.5 (per 100,000) compared to the Texas rate of 9.6.  Similar to the U.S. and Texas trends, male teens had a considerable higher rate of deaths than females with a total of 27 deaths by males compared to 2 females for this age range in Travis County.  There are also stark differences by race with 18 suicides by Whites, 2 by Blacks, 8 by Hispanics and 1 identified as Other. 

 

what the data tell us

 

 

 

Definition: The number per 100,000 of completed youth suicides ages 15-24.

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, 2006-2007

Data Considerations: A postvention study by the Austin ISD and the Travis County Suicide Prevention Coalition notes that Travis County has had two youth suicide clusters in the past 10 years.  The majority of the teen suicide deaths in clusters were in Northwest, West or Southwest Austin areas. The rate for females in Travis County was too low to be calculated and thus states ‘0’ in the graph; however there were 2 documented suicides.

The Story Behind the indicator

 

There are a number of bio-psycho-social risk factors that may lead a teenager to take his or her life, but the most common is depression. Feelings of hopelessness and anxiety, along with feelings of being trapped, are contributors to teen suicide. The majority of youth who complete suicide have mental or substance-related disorders. If not identified and given access to mental health services, these young people are at greater risk of feeling unable to cope with the stressors in their life. In some cases, teenagers believe that suicide is the only solution. In clusters, suicide has become normalized as an “option” by exposure to other attempts and deaths.  We do not know how many LGBTQ suicides there are considering mortality data does not include sexual orientation or gender, but studies show that LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk for attempting suicide than their non-LGBTQ peers.

 

Some local efforts to improve this indicator

 

 

 

 

A Closer look at the story behind the indicators

 

 

Definition: The number per 100,000 of completed youth suicides ages 15-24.

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, 2006-2007

Data Considerations: A postvention study by the Austin ISD and the Travis County Suicide Prevention Coalition notes that Travis County has had two youth suicide clusters in the past 10 years.  The majority of the teen suicide deaths in clusters were in Northwest, West or Southwest Austin areas. Rates were too low to be calculated for Black and Other for Travis County, stating ‘0’ in the graph; however there were 2 suicides documented as Black and 1 as Other.

 

Above: Travis County youth suicide rates are higher than Texas – primarily white males, with clusters in upper middle class neighborhoods.


 

 

 

Definition: The number per 100,000 of completed youth suicides ages 15-24.

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, 2004-2007

Data Considerations: A postvention study by the Austin ISD and the Travis County Suicide Prevention Coalition notes that Travis County has had two youth suicide clusters in the past 10 years.  The majority of the teen suicide deaths in clusters were in Northwest, West or Southwest Austin areas.

 

Above: The rate of suicides for Travis County, ages 15-24, steadily rose from 2005 to 2007

  • Consistent with data from the U.S. and Texas overall, Caucasians have the highest death rate in Travis County for this age group, and the Travis County Hispanic death rate for the last two years was slightly higher than that for Texas Hispanics.
  • Suicide attempt official data is not collected statewide, but there is some indication of risk from the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  This national survey indicates that the highest reports of suicide attempts is by Hispanic females and that Texas reports higher attempts for this group than the U.S. overall.
  • The Centers for Disease control report that suicide is the third leading cause of death, behind accidents and homicide, of people aged 15 to 24, and the fourth leading cause of death for children ages 10-14. 
  • Although there is no official data for suicide deaths or attempts by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning youth, national research indicates that this group is at a higher risk, as are youth who do not appear to conform to mainstream gender roles and popular culture expectations and who have been bullied and / or are isolated.
  • Preventing teen suicide means identifying and treating teen depression. Since more than 75 percent of the people who die by suicide are depressed (according to national studies), it is a good start to begin by treating the symptoms of teen depression, making access to care easier for those at risk and supporting help seeking behavior.  
  • The Austin Travis County Suicide Prevention Coalition identified access to care as an issue for youth – there are not enough adolescent psychiatrists and there is a waiting period to see them.
  • Recent unofficial data for 2009-2010, indicates that youth suicide deaths may be going down so the intensive outreach and training may be having a positive effect.


The following individuals/organizations contributed to the development of this indicator.

 

 

 
Workforce Solutions - Capital Area United Way Capital Area (UWCA) Community Action Network