Study says teen suicide is third leading cause of death

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The Centers for Disease Control reported that suicide is the third leading cause of death for people 15 to 24 years old; the new study showed that few suicidal teens are getting the mental health treatment they need. Research showed that 13 percent of teenagers with suicidal thoughts visited a mental health professional, and only 16 percent received treatment during the year, though they were eligible for treatments through their health plans. The study also found that only 26 percent of teens contemplating suicide received help in the previous year.

“Teen suicide is a very real issue today in the United States. Until now, we’ve known very little about how much or how little suicidal teens use health care services. We found it particularly striking to observe such low rates of health care service use among most teens in our study,” the study’s lead author, Carolyn A. McCarty, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute and research associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in a Seattle Children’s Hospital news release.

The study revealed 86 percent of teens with suicidal thoughts had seen a health care provider, only 13 percent had actually seen a mental health care specialist, and only 7 percent received treatments such as antidepressants. The findings in the study suggest that suicidal tendencies are accompanied by relationship problems and trouble in school, and not part of “growing up” although this myth persists.

“We know that asking teens about [suicidal thoughts] does not worsen their problems,” said McCarty. “It’s absolutely crucial for a teen who is having thoughts of self-harm or significant depression to be able to tell a helpful, trustworthy adult.”

“Primary care physicians should be screening teenagers for depression and suicidal thoughts. Effective screening tools are available, as are effective treatments for depression,”McCarty noted.

The study was published in the September issue of Academic Pediatrics.

 

The Centers for Disease Control reported that suicide is the third leading cause of death for people 15 to 24 years old; the new study showed that few suicidal teens are getting the mental health treatment they need. Research showed that 13 percent of teenagers with suicidal thoughts visited a mental health professional, and only 16 percent received treatment during the year, though they were eligible for treatments through their health plans. The study also found that only 26 percent of teens contemplating suicide received help in the previous year.