Kita Curry, Ph.D.

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 the most up-to-date information about the prevention, intervention, and postvention of suicide among our youth.

In 2007, suicide ranked as the third leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults (AAS, 2009); only accidents and homicides occurred more frequently. In recent years, more young people have died from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, congenital birth defects and diabetes COMBINED (CDC, 2009).

In the About Suicide section, you will find facts about suicide and depression along with the most updated statistics on youth suicide in the United States, California and Los Angeles County. You will also find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about youth suicide and depression, including special section called Suicide Survivors that is dedicated to the estimated 1 in 65 Americans who has lost a loved one to suicide.

Did you know.....?

  • Young males are much more likely to die by suicide than their female peers (AAS, 2009).
  • Female adolescents are more likely to attempt suicide than their male peers.
  • For every young person who dies by suicide, 100-200 youth attempt suicide. Only one of four youth who attempt suicide actually gets medical attention (AAS, 2009).
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native youth have the highest suicide rate followed by White, Black, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander youth (CDC, 2007).
  • Hispanic youth are more likely to attempt suicide than their peers (CDC, 2007).
  • Firearms remain the most commonly used suicide method among youth however; in the last decade the suicide rate by firearm decreased while the rate for suffocation increased, especially in young girls (CDC, 2009).

Depression is the most significant risk factor for suicide. Ninety percent of those that die by suicide have some kind of mental illness and 60% of the time that illness is a mood disorder such as depression.

Did you know.....?

  • Depression is the most prevalent mental health disorder (NIMH, 2009).
  • It is estimated 1 in 33 children and 1 in 8 adolescents may suffer the symptoms of depression (NIMH, 2009).
  • Teenage girls are more likely to develop depression than teenage boys (NIMH, 2007).
  • A family history of depression (i.e., a parent) increases the chances (by 11 times) that a child will also have depression (NIMH, 2009).
  • Based on the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS), 26.1 % students in grades 9-12 reported a prolonged sense of depression over the past year; 13.8% of students reported they seriously considered attempting suicide while 10.9% actually made plans. 6.3% of students participating in the survey reported making one or more attempts in the past year (CDC, 2009).
  • Depression is the psychiatric diagnosis most commonly associated with suicide and approximately 2/3 of people who die by suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths (AAS, 2009).