In 2011, suicide continued to be the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults ages 10 to 24 years old according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). That same year, over 20% of high school students participating in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey report being bullied at school. Research has shown that those bullied and those who bully others are at increased risk for suicide-related behavior. In addition, those who are bullied and bully others are at the highest risk for suicide-related behavior.
So what exactly do we know about the relationship between bullying and suicide? We know that the behaviors are closely related and that there is a higher potential for serious harm to everyone involved in bullying: the youth bullying others, the youth being bullied, and the bystanders.
While research has not shown that bullying directly causes suicidal behavior, involvement with bullying behavior may largely contribute to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that raises the risks for suicide. That said, there’s a lot we don’t know. Learn more - PDF about this relationship and what we know from research.
World Suicide Prevention Day brings global attention to suicide and its prevention. Observed on September 10th, the day recognizes suicide as a public health issue that can be prevented, especially among our youth. One important step in suicide prevention is being knowledgeable about the warning signs of suicide.
Based on the Suicide Prevention Tips for Kids and Teens, the warning signs for suicide are:
- Change in sleep
- Change in mood – sadness, anxiety, irritability
- Change in behavior – isolation
- Change in appetite
- Increase in aggression or impulsiveness
- Feeling hopeless, worthless
- Saying things like “No one will miss me” or “You’ll be better off” (feeling like a burden)
- Feeling ashamed or humiliated or desperation, as after a break up or test
- Collecting means
- Talking about wanting to kill themselves
- Drop in grades
- Risk taking
- Giving away prized possessions
Also remember that it is very important to support those in need of help. If you see someone experiencing any of these signs or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or visit online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You can also find more information on suicide prevention at the following websites: