Full Potential Adolescent Suicide :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Adolescent Suicide Trends

In 2002, hanging and/or suffocation became the leading method of suicide nationally for females age 10 to 24. It is a violent method that has a high completion-to-attempt ratio.

  • In 2009, 11 percent of high school students nationally had made a plan in the past 12 months about how they would attempt suicide. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Since 2005, the rate of adolescent suicide in Franklin County has been higher than the United States rate.

  • *Deaths per 100,000 population in 15 to 24 age group.
  • Sources: Franklin County and Ohio: Ohio Department of Health Vital Statistics System, analyzed by Columbus Public Health Office of Assessment and Surveillance; U.S.: National Vital Statistics Reports

Medical Insights

“The mental health community is learning more about risk factors in youth suicide, and some effective interventions for high-risk youth have been identified. In Franklin County, we are rightly focused on preventing youth suicide by developing a  comprehensive approach that includes improving access to effective care for at-risk youth. We are making progress, but challenges remain.”

John V. Campo, MD, is chief of child and adolescent psychiatry and medical director of behavioral health at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and professor and chief of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at The Ohio State University Medical Center.

Independence Boosts Young Adult’s Mood, Self-Worth

Symone Wallace’s occasional bouts of depression don’t crush her, now that she doesn’t let the world’s weight settle on her shoulders.

In the 2008 Full Potential report, Symone told us about her severe depression. She considered overdosing on pills to escape a life that would be stressful for an adult, let alone a teenager. “I didn’t have much of a childhood,” Symone explains.

Now age 20, Symone surrounds herself with positive people when she feels depressed, and she refocuses problems to keep them in perspective.

Symone still has many responsibilities. She has her own apartment, attends college and supports herself with a full-time job. “I do have a lot on my plate. But I feel better now that I’m in control of my life and make my own decisions.”

Symone is majoring in psychology and thinking about becoming a high school guidance counselor to help teens struggling with their own issues. For now, Symone advises young people who hit bottom the way she did to realize there is always an answer. “It’s also important to let yourself worry about you instead of everyone else,” says Symone. “Once you can do that, things will get better.”

Community Insights

“Per capita, inpatient psychiatric hospital beds have decreased for children under age 18 and for adolescents age 18 to 24. Without sufficient inpatient resources, high-risk cases may be treated in an outpatient setting ill-equipped to handle the complexity of the risk. To expand the safety net locally, every child and adolescent who presents to Netcare receives a Suicide Risk Assessment developed specifically for that age group. This allows us to develop individualized treatment and safety plans for each at-risk youth identified to reduce and manage that risk.”

Staci Swenson, MA, MSW, LISW-S, is director of crisis services for Netcare Corporation.

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