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Mental Health Center

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Teen Suicide Linked to Prior Violent Behavior

Youth Suicide Rates Declining but Methods Changing

WebMD Health News

June 10, 2004 -- Teens who attempt suicide may have a history of violent behavior, according to a new CDC study of youth suicide trends.

Researchers found that high school students who reported suicide attempts in the past 12 months were nearly four times more likely to have reported fighting than other students.

In addition, a related report shows that the most common method of suicide among different age groups is shifting. For adolescents aged 10-14, suffocation (primarily hangings) has replaced firearms as the most common method of suicide.

Suicide remains the third leading cause of death among young people in the U.S., but the report shows the suicide rate among youth aged 10-19 years declined by about 75% from 1992-2001, from 6.2 to 4.6 suicides per 100,000 people.

Suicide Trends Among Youth

The new information on suicide attempts and youth violence and methods of suicide among youth appear in tomorrow's issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Overall, researchers found the most common method of suicide among youths 10-19 years in 2001 was by firearm (49%), followed by suffocation (38%) and poisoning (7%).

Researchers say that among adolescents aged 10-14, suffocation suicides began to increase in frequency in the early to mid-1990s and surpassed firearms as the most common method by the late 1990s.

In another study, researchers looked at the link between suicide and violent behavior in high school students.

The study showed that one in 20 high school students reported both suicide attempts and involvement in physical fights in the past year.

The study also showed that nearly two-thirds of students who reported suicide attempts in the past year also reported physical fighting compared with only one-third of those who had not attempted suicide.

Researchers say the findings suggest that prevention strategies to reduce both suicide attempts and fighting might be most advantageous to design.

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