Kita Curry, Ph.D.

President
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

Welcome to the Los Angeles County Youth Suicide Prevention Project website. This website has been especially developed for the 80 school districts within Los Angeles County, to provide administrators, staff, parents and students with current information about the prevention, intervention and postvention of suicide among our youth.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10-24; only accidents occurred more frequently according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC, 2015). Each year, suicide continues to claim more youth lives than homicides, heart disease, congenital birth defects, influenza, diabetes, and chronic low respiratory disease combined (CDC, 2015).

National Suicide Facts - Reported by the CDC in 2015

Data from students in grades 9-12 across the U.S. revealed:

  • 17% of students had seriously considered attempting suicide within the last year. Rates were higher for females (22.4%) than males (11.6%)
  • 13% of students had developed a plan outlining their suicide attempt within the last year. Rates were higher for females (16.9%) than males (10.3%)
  • 8% of students had made a suicide attempt at least once in the past year (10.6% of females and 5.4% of males).
  • 2.7% of students attempted suicide that resulted in an injury, poisoning, or an overdose that required medical attention. Rates were higher for females (3.6%) than males (1.8%).

Suicide Facts by Gender

  • Males represent 77.9% of all suicides and are nearly four times more likely to die by suicide than females.
  • More females than males report they have suicidal thoughts
  • Males are more likely to use firearms as their method of death by suicide (56.9%).
  • Females are more likely to use poisoning as their method of death by suicide (34.8%).

Suicide Facts by Ethnicity and Race

American Indians/Alaska Natives adolescents and young adults are more likely to die by suicide than any other ethnic group, followed by Hispanic, Caucasian, and African American students (CDC, 2015).

Suicide Facts—General Information

Adolescents who experience depression and feelings of hopelessness are at high risk for suicidal behavior.1 Many students who have died by suicide struggled with unmet mental health needs.2 Suicide is preventable and it is important to know the warning signs, risk factors, and to how to refer an individual experiencing suicidal thoughts to resources. This website provides information on how to support students experiencing suicidal behavior.

Suicidal Behavior

According to the CDC, suicidal behavior is defined as:

  • Suicidal ideation: thinking about ending one’s life
  • Suicide attempt: non-fatal suicidal behavior
  • Suicide: ending one’s life

CDC Violence Prevention Information on Suicide

Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are more common than death by suicide. It is important to remember that all suicide attempts should be taken seriously and help should be sought immediately. Suicide attempts and thoughts of suicide indicate a person is in extreme distress and therefore in need of mental health support by a qualified professional (NIMH, 2016). This help can be obtained through emergency room evaluations in imminent or emergency situations. Below are resources to assist persons struggling with suicidal ideation.

Mental Health Support in Los Angeles County Contact Information:

For life-threatening emergencies: Call 911

Los Angeles Warmline
Sun to Sat, 10PM to 6AM
Suicide Crisis Line
24HRS
LA Mental Health Help Center
24 HRS
Hotline of Southern California
Sun to Sat, 9AM to 10PM
Community Helpline
Sun to Sat, 9AM to 10PM
Project Return
Mon to Fri, 5PM to 10PM

References:

Horwitz, A. G., Berona, J., Czyz, E. K., Yeguez, C. E. & King, C. A. (2017). Positive and negative expectations of hopelessness as longitudinal predictors of depression, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior in high-risk adolescents. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 47(2), 168-176. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sltb.12273

National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). NIMH answers questions about suicide. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/nimh-answers-questions-about-suicide/index.shtml

Center for Disease Control. (2015). Understanding Suicide: Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/suicide_factsheet-a.pdf