The number of Washington teens who have considered suicide is on the rise, according to the 2016 Washington state Healthy Youth Survey.
Over the last decade, there has been a 6 percent increase in the number of eighth and 10th grade students who have considered suicide, and an 8 percent increase among 12th graders, the survey found.
In a statement, Gov. Jay Inslee called the state’s suicide statistics an “alarming” trend: About one in five high school students seriously considered suicide in the last year.
Those results break down by gender lines – girls were more likely to contemplate and attempt suicide than boys. About a quarter of girls have thought about suicide, compared to 14 percent of boys. About 13 percent of girls have attempted suicide, compared to 7 percent of boys.
The Healthy Youth Survey is taken by sixth, eighth, 10th, and 12th grade students every two years, although sixth graders are not asked questions about suicidal feelings and actions. The survey covers drug and alcohol use, physical health, violence, and bullying, among other health topics.
Parents are encouraged to know and recognize the warning signs of suicide in their teens:
- Talk of suicide, being a burden to others, or saying they have no reason to live.
- Showing symptoms of depression, including irritability, rage, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Engaging in unusual behavior, such as increased drug or alcohol use, reckless actions, sleeping too much or too little, giving away prized possessions, or calling/visiting people to say goodbye
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