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Epidemiology of Suicide . Suicide a “ serious public health problem ,” The Surgeon General declared July 28, 1999. Jason Flatt Act of 2008. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Jason Flatt Act, SB 1378

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Epidemiology of Suicide

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Suicide a

“serious public health problem,”

The Surgeon General declared

July 28, 1999

jason flatt act of 2008
Jason Flatt Act of 2008

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Jason Flatt Act, SB 1378

authorizes school districts to use a portion of their Professional Development Block Grant funding to pay for suicide prevention training

allow for teachers to receive up to two hours of suicide prevention training during one of their regularly scheduled training days

definition of suicide
Definitionof Suicide
  • Suicidal ideation“Thoughts of harming or killing oneself”
    • The severity of suicidal ideation can be determined by assessing the frequency, intensity, and duration of these thoughts
  • Suicide attempt

“A non-fatal, self-inflicted destructive act with explicit or inferred intent to die”

  • Suicide“Fatal self-inflicted destructive act with explicit or inferred intent to die”



Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death for all ages.

      • 3rd leading cause of death for young people 15-24
      • 4th leading cause for children 10-14 years of age
  • http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/suicide/suicide_data_sheet.pdf

U.S. Suicide Mortality by Age and Gender

PEI Suicide Webcast Handouts



Methods in USA Suicides


% of Total


  • Firearms 54.0% 17,108
  • Hanging, 20.4% 6,462
  • strangulation, suffocation
  • Solid & Liquid Poisons 12.7% 4,016
  • Gas Poisons 4.6% 1,470
  • All Other Methods 8.2% 2,599

Note: Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding


Self-inflicted injury among all persons by age and gender--United States, 2005

PEI Suicide Webcast Handouts

  • The total lifetime cost of self-inflicted injuries occurring in 2000 was about $33 billion.
    • $1billion for medical treatment
    • $32 billion for lost productivity



Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 19 years.

Every day, 12 young people (ages 15 to 24) commit suicide, or approximately 1 every 100 minutes.

Almost all people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental or substance use disorder.


Trends in Youth Suicide by Gender

Young Men

Young Total

Young Women

Young = 15-24 years of age

  • 1933-2002 data
did you know
Did you know?

One teenager attempts suicide every 90 seconds.

The most common precipitant of adolescent suicide is:

an argument with a boyfriend, girlfriend, or a parent (19%)

school problems (14%).

lesbian gay bisexual transgender questioning lgbtq
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ)
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death
  • among gay and lesbian youth
  • LGBTQ youth are up to 5 x more likely to
  • attempt suicide
lgbtq youth

Who attempt suicide share the following characteristics

and experiences:

  • Lower self-esteem
  • Acknowledged more mental health problems
  • Early awareness
  • Peer rejection
  • Victimization
  • Disclosed their identity to a greater extent, and by doing so, lost more friends and experienced more victimization


Orange County

suicide rates california vs usa race ethnicity 2005
Suicide Rates California vs. USA: Race/Ethnicity (2005)
  • White Non-Hispanic: 10.09 vs. 11.96
  • American Indian: 3.99 vs. 11.65
  • Black Non-Hispanic: 5.50 vs. 5.23
  • Asian: 5.15 vs. 5.18
  • Other: 5.03 vs. 6.40
more californians die by suicide each year than by homicide 2005
More Californians Die by Suicide Each Year Than by Homicide (2005)

Suicide 3,206

10th ranking cause

9.0 per 100,000

Homicide 2,540

12th ranking cause

7.0 per 100,000

26% more people killed themselves than were murdered by others








astounding facts about suicide rates
Astounding Facts about Suicide Rates
  • Between 1980 and 1996, the suicide rate among 10-14 year olds increased by 100%
  • Between 1980 and 1996, the suicide rate among African American males between ages 15-19 increased 105%
  • Males are four times more likely to die from suicide than females, even though females are more likely to attempt suicide. Why?
  • There are approximately 14 suicides for 100,000 adolescents
myths about suicide
Myths About Suicide
  • Suicidal adolescents just want to die.
  • Adolescents who commit suicide do not warn others.
  • Teens who talk about suicide are only trying to get attention. They won’t really do it.
  • After a person has attempted suicide, it is unlikely they will try it again.
  • Suicide only happens to “crazy” people.
myths about suicide1
Myths About Suicide
  • Don’t mention suicide to someone who’s showing signs of severe depression: it will plant the idea in their minds and they will act on it.
  • More males attempt suicide than females.
  • Sexual orientation does not play a role in adolescent suicide.
  • Race is not a factor in suicide.
myths about suicide2
Myths about Suicide
  • Those who talk about suicide are the least likely to attempt it.
  • If someone is going to kill themselves, there is nothing you can do about it.
  • Suicidal people are fully intent on dying.
  • If someone has a history of making “cries for help” they are just trying to get attention.
  • Talking about suicide encourages it.
myths about suicide3
Myths About Suicide
  • Only mentally ill or clinically depressed people make serious suicide attempts.
  • Once a person is suicidal, they are suicidal forever.
  • Suicide can be a blessed relief not just for the individual but those around him or her.
  • Some people are immune from suicide.
warning signs
Warning Signs
  • Situational Cues
    • Recent loss of a loved one
    • Survivor of suicide attempt
    • Anniversary of death or loss – esp. suicide
    • Loss of prestige, loss of face
    • Serious illness
    • Exhaustion of resources (real or imagined)
    • Family history of suicide
    • Close friend commits suicide
warning signs1
Warning Signs
  • Behavioral Cues
    • Talking or writing about suicide
    • Giving away personal possessions
    • Change in behaviors – eating and sleeping habits
    • Ending close relationships
    • Preparing for death – talking about funeral arrangements
    • Crying frequently
    • Buying weapons, pills, etc.
    • Reading a lot regarding suicide
warning signs2
Warning Signs
  • Emotional Cues
    • Sense of personal failure
    • Continual or constant sadness
    • General lack of interest
    • Expressing feelings of helplessness
    • Guilt
    • Withdrawal/Isolation
    • Feels like a burden to others
    • Sudden lifting of depression
warning signs3
Warning Signs
  • Verbal Cues
    • “I can’t go on.”
    • “I have nothing to live for.”
    • “No one cares.”
    • “There’s nothing left to do.”
    • “What’s the use.”
    • “They won’t have me to kick around anymore.”
    • “I’m at my rope’s end.”
    • “They’re better off without me”
    • “I just want to stop the pain once and for all.”
high school warning signs
High School Warning Signs
  • Depression
    • Sadness or crying; withdrawal from social contacts, isolation; disinterest in previous activities, hobbies, sports, or school; inability to complete assignments, drop in grades; lack of energy; change of sleep or eating patterns; neglect of personal hygiene and personal appearance.
    • Giving away prized possessions
    • Unusual mood shifts
high school warning signs1
High School Warning Signs
  • Impatience or impulsivity
  • Prior suicide attempts
  • Increased use of drugs and alcohol
  • Taking risks, frequent accidents
  • Saying “goodbye”
  • Reoccurring death themes in written or artistic expressions
  • Disorientation, disorganization, confusion
high school warning signs2
High School Warning Signs
  • Grief over loss of a significant relationship, including breakups with boyfriends and girlfriends
  • Distress over school failure
  • Bullying
  • Poor communication or relationship with parents
  • Any plan or attempts to secure the means
what can you do
What Can You Do?
  • Listen:
    • Take feelings seriously
    • Avoid criticism or advice
    • Don’t be judgmental or moralistic
    • Offer genuine concern, not sympathy or pity
    • Maintain contact
    • If threat appears to be real or you are scared DO NOT LEAVE THE STUDENT ALONE.
what can you do1
What Can You Do?
  • Inquire About Suicidal Plan
    • Is a specific plan formulated?
    • How lethal is the chosen method”
    • Is it easily accessible?
    • What outcome is expected?
    • Anticipated reaction of others?
    • Were previous attempts made?
    • If so, when, how serious, response of others?
    • Remove any lethal methods.
what can you do2
What Can You Do?
  • Explore Resources
    • Personal strength and abilities
    • Willingness to consider alternatives
    • Ability to ask for help
    • Significant others – friends, family, clergy, teacher, etc.
    • Community Resources – local suicide prevention center, professional
    • Counseling, community mental health center.
student referral form
Student Referral Form
  • Please look at the pink Student Referral Form
    • Please fill it out even if you are unsure about a situation.
      • We can asses the situation for any possible threat.
suicide lethality checklist
Suicide Lethality Checklist
  • Blue form
    • These are some of the areas we are going to assess when we meet with the student.
      • If you are privy to information in the checklist please fill it out the sections you know of and return it with the Student Referral Form. This will help with our assessment of the student.
what if no one is here to help
What if no one is here to help?
  • When we meet with students regarding suicide there are three possible outcomes:
    • Threat unfounded – Call home, inform the parents and the student can go.
    • Mild threat – Call home advise parent(s), refer to counseling services (have them call 211)
    • Serious Threat – Contact the parent(s) AND the SMART team (283-2708, 283-2712, 283-2714) or OC Sheriff Department (770-6011).
  • Always fill out the Student Referral Form!!!
  • Yellow Ribbon
    • 1-800-SUICIDE
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    • 1-800-273-TALK
  • California Youth Crisis Line
    • 800-843-5200