Teenagers and Suicide

Understand the signs, statistics, and what we can all do to prevent these tragic deaths.

Do you need immediate help?

Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger!
Otherwise, call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-talk(8255)

What are risk factors for suicide?

Sad teenage girl - risk factors for suicide

Risk factors vary with age, gender, or ethnic group. They may occur in combination or change over time. It is also important to note that many people who have these risk factors are not suicidal, but some important risk factors to be aware of are:

  • Depression and other mental disorders
  • Substance-abuse disorder (often in combination with other mental disorders)
  • Prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence including physical or sexual abuse
  • Firearms in the home
  • Incarceration
  • Exposure to suicidal behavior of others, such as family members or peers

What are the signs to look for?

teenager with head in hands - teenage suicide statistics

The following are some of the signs you might notice in yourself or a friend that may be a reason for concern.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Statistics about teenage suicide

Help for Teen Suicide and Depression American SPCC The Nations Voice for Children
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, combined.
  • Suicide results in approximately 4600 lives lost each year.
  • Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,400 suicide attempts by young people grades 7-12.
  • Four out of five teenagers who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.
  • Kids who are bullied are more than twice as likely to consider suicide, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

How can I help a suicidal person?

teenager with head in hands - teenage suicide statistics

If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, immediate action is very important. Suicide can be prevented and most people, including teenagers, who feel suicidal demonstrate warning signs.

Recognizing some of these warning signs is the first step in helping yourself or someone you care about.

The next step is to reach out for help. If there is immediate danger, call 911. Otherwise, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You’re not alone.

Asking for help is a sign of strength. If you are concerned, go with your instincts, and get help!

teenager with head in hands - teenage suicide statistics


National suicide prevention lifeline hotline

**If you are in crisis and need help: call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, every day . You will reach the NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE , a hotline service available to anyone. You may call for yourself or for someone you care about. All calls are confidential. You can also visit the Lifeline’s website at SUICIDEPREVENTIONLIFELINE.ORG .

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American Society for the Positive Care of Children is dedicated to preventing child maltreatment and raising awareness of the lifelong impacts of adverse childhood experiences by providing parents with the skills, tools, and educational resources that build their confidence and capacity as caregivers and create more positive childhood experiences. We’re able to continue providing resources like these free of charge to nearly 1,000,000 families who rely on us annually thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

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References & Sources