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CDC: Teen Suicide Attempts on the Rise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report Thursday which revealed a marked increase in the number of attempted suicides among teens in 2011. is reporting that the figures are part of the CDC's 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) which monitors health-risk behaviors among youth and young adults such as sexual behavior, drug and alcohol use.

The report found that attempted suicides among teenagers had increased from 6.3 percent in 2009 to 7.8 percent in 2011.

Suicide is now the third leading cause of death for teens between the ages of 10 and 24, accounting for 13 percent of all deaths in that age group.

Equally disturbing is the increase in the number of teens who report that they are thinking about suicide. Of the teens surveyed by the CDC, 15.8 percent said they had seriously considered suicide, which is up from 13.8 percent in 2009. More than 12 percent of teens admitted to making a suicide plan, which also represents an increase from the 10.9 percent who said they did so in 2009.

According to KidsHealth, part of The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health, suicide rates differ between girls and boys. Girls think about and attempt suicide twice as often as boys, but their death rate is lower because they tend to use methods such as overdosing on drugs or cutting themselves. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to die from a suicide attempt because they tend to use more lethal methods such as firearms, hanging or jumping from heights.

Some of the factors that increase the risk of suicide among teens include those who are going through major life changes such as a parents' divorce, moving, parental separation, financial changes, and those who are victims of bullying. Other risk factors include psychological disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, or alcohol and drug use. Statistics show that 95 percent of people who die by suicide have a psychological disorder at the time of their death.

KidsHealth advises parents to be watchful for any signs that their teen may be considering suicide, such as talking about suicide or death in general or about feeling hopeless or guilty. They should also be concerned if their youngster begins to pull away from friends and/or family, if they write letters or poems about death, or start giving away treasured items to siblings or friends. Teens who stop taking part in favorite activities, are exhibiting changes in their eating or sleeping habits, or if they begin to engage in high risk behavior, may also be at risk for suicide.

Most important, when a teen threatens to hurt or kill themselves, parents should not assume that they're "just doing it for attention."

"It's important to realize that if teens are ignored when seeking attention, it may increase the chance of them harming themselves (or worse)," advises KidsHealth.

"Many teens who commit or attempt suicide have given some type of warning to loved ones ahead of time. So it's important for parents to know the warning signs so teens who might be suicidal can get the help they need."

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