Teen Suicide and Attempts on the Rise in the US

Recent headlines:

The CDC reports that:

  • Boys are 4 times more likely to die from suicide than girls.
  • Girls are more likely to try to commit suicide than boys.
  • Guns are used in more than half of all youth suicides.

Stanford health stated some possible causes:

“The teen years are a stressful time. They are filled with major changes. These include body changes, changes in thoughts, and changes in feelings. Strong feelings of stress, confusion, fear, and doubt may affect a teen’s problem-solving and decision-making. He or she may also feel a pressure to succeed.”

    • Changes in their families, such as divorce, siblings moving out, or moving to a new town
    • Changes in friendships
    • Problems in school
    • Other losses

Taking Action

A recommended read is a book by Kevin Briggs titled, “Guardian of the Golden Gate: Protecting the Line Between Hope and Despair”. Sergeant Kevin Briggs is a California Highway Patrol officer noted for his work in suicide intervention, having dissuaded more than two hundred people from jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay (Wikipedia).

Although most of the chapters focus on his experiences with people encountered on the Golden Gate Bridge, one particular chapter highlighted teen suicide for someone very close to him, his own son. Briggs was surprised and caught off guard by those “under his own nose”. I was shocked, for someone who dealt with suicide on the job, he missed his own family member for being at risk. A lot of the factors for suicide ideation for Kevin’s son were those highlighted by Standford health – pressures from school, drugs, divorced parents.

What can we do?

  • Talk to the youth, your children, your peers.
  • Talk about their feelings.
  • Directly address the issue – before it is too late.
  • Know how to take action when it occurs.




Jeff is a licensed occupational therapist and lead content creator for OT Dude. He covers all things occupational therapy as well as other topics including healthcare, wellness, mental health, technology, science, sociology, and philosophy. Buy me a Coffee on Venmo.