Suicide

Approximately 2 million people of all ages die each year from homicide or suicide, including nearly 900,000 suicides each year (29,92). At least 90,000 adolescents (10-18 years of age) commit suicide each year and as many as 200,000 15 to 24 year olds commit suicide each year (29,89,92). The ratio of suicide attempt to completions ranges from 40 to 500: 1 and factors involved in suicide include depression, chronic illness, abuse, homosexuality, and others (90-98). Twenty to twenty-five percent of American adolescents seriously consider suicide each year and 9% have tried suicide at least once (90,93).

Suicide is third leading cause of death in older teens and fifth in those 5 to 14 years of age in the United States. The estimated suicide rate in 2000 is 10/100,000 in the United States, leading to 2000 suicides in those 15 to 19 years of age and 2000 in those 20 to 24 years of age each year; this included a suicide rate of 14.6 for the male and 2.9 for females 15 to 19 years of age (93). More American adolescents and young adults die from suicide than from the combination of cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, chronic lung disease, birth defects, cerebrovascular accidents, pneumonia, and influenza. Suicide rates of 15 to 24 year olds are over 30/100,000 in such countries as Finland, Lithuania, New Zealand, and the Russian Federation (93). The World Health Organization complied a comparison of deaths by suicide of 15 to 24 year olds from 1991 to 1993 in various countries (Table 10).

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