“Suicidal behavior” is a broad-sweeping term that captures a range of suicidal acts including completed suicides, suicide attempts, and suicide ideation. Suicide is self-directed injurious behavior with the intent to die as a result. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that 62,000 adolescents died in 2016 due to suicide. Suicide is consistently ranked as a leading cause of death among adolescents, according to the CDC, and far outranks adolescent deaths due to other medical conditions.
In 2017, suicide was the 9th leading cause of death in children ages 5-11. In 2018, nearly half of all emergency department visits were due to children (ages 5-11)’s suicidal behaviors. Risk factors for suicide competition include access to firearms, co-occurring mental health or substance abuse problems, death of a loved one, chronic pain management difficulties, and family history of suicide. Female adolescents are more likely to attempt suicide than male adolescents, however, males are more inclined to die by suicide. In addition, data collected by the CDC from 2015-2018 suggest that black high schoolers are more likely to attempt suicide than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. Children and Adolescents who identify as LGBTQ+ are also exhibited higher rates of suicide attempts than their heterosexual peers.
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is authorized by the CDC in the United States to assess a broad scope of health-related problem behaviors in high school students. In 2019, 18% of youth (grades 9-12) in the state of Maryland seriously contemplated suicide while 16% formulated a plan. Several mental health disorders are associated with adolescent suicidal behaviors including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, substance abuse, and pervasive emotion dysregulation.
EMH offers Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents and Families and Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Children (DBT-C) to address suicidal behaviors of childhood and adolescence. For more information about these treatment models, please visit here. For additional community support, please visit EMH's list of resources.