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How Do Local Students' Suicide Rates Compare to the Rest of The Country?

For some age groups, youth in the Hopkins' school district are more at risk than a Harvard study last week reported for American youth as a whole.

Students in the Hopkins school district think about suicide and attempt suicide at rates comparable to the dangerous levels reported in a Harvard study last week—and in some cases even exceed those rates, a local survey suggests.

The Harvard study of nearly 6,500 teenagers found that 12.1 percent had thought about suicide while 4 percent either made plans to kill themselves or actually attempted suicide.

In comparison, the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey found that between 8 and 25 percent of Hopkins youth had thought about killing themselves, depending on the age and gender. The rates for those attempting suicide ranged from 0 to 5 percent.

 

Suicidal Thoughts and Attempts Among Hopkins Students


Grade Sixth Ninth 12th Male Female Male Female Male Female Have you ever thought about killing yourself? No 85 86 80 69 79 77 Yes, during the last year 8 11 13 25 12 12 Yes, more than a year ago 7 3 7 6 9 11 Have you ever tried to kill yourself No 96 98 96 91 95 95 Yes, during the last year 3 1 2 4 0 1 Yes, more than a year ago 1 1 2 5 5 4

NOTE: All numbers are percentages. Click on the PDF to the right of the article to read the full report.

 

The Minnesota Student Survey, which is conducted every three years, is not an exact comparison to the Harvard study, but it does echo the trend of a disturbing number of local youth reporting harmful thoughts and depression-like feelings. The problem was particularly acute among ninth-grade girls—who had the worst rates among all groups for thinking of suicide, attempting suicide, bullying others and “often (feeling) unhappy, depressed or tearful.”

One of the most shocking results to arise from the Harvard study found was that more than half of those who planned or attempted suicide had received treatment. The Minnesota Student Survey doesn’t provide information on any connection between those who tried to kill themselves and the mental health treatment they received.

However, between 5 and 14 percent of students reported receiving treatment for a mental or emotional health problem. Between 7 and 17 percent reported having a mental or emotional health problem that lasted at least a year.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24, with about 4,600 youth taking their lives each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anyone who is thinking of suicide should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak to a trained counselor in the area. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day.

 

Feelings Among Hopkins Youth

During the last 30 days ... Grade Sixth Ninth 12th Male Female Male Female Male Female ... have you felt you were under any stress or pressure? Yes, almost more than I could take 6 5 8 22 9 21 Yes, quite a bit of pressure 8 10 16 25 23 32 Yes, more than usual 9 9 18 16 18 16 Yes, a little 42 50 38 28 35 26 Not at all 35 26 20 10 14 5 ... have you felt sad? All the time 2 3 2 5 4 3 Most of the time 3 9 7 14 6 11 Some of the time 18 24 20 29 19 34 A little of the time 53 49 48 43 48 46 None of the time 23 15 23 8 22 5 ... have you felt so discouraged or hopeless that you wondered if anything was worthwhile? Extremely so, to the point that I have just about given up 3 2 6 6 4 3 Quite a bit 4 8 6 11 9 10 Some, enough to bother me 11 11 9 15 12 17 A little bit 28 27 21 28 22 23 Not at all 54 51 58 40 53 47 I am often unhappy, depressed or tearful. Agree 3 6 6 11 7 5 Mostly agree 7 15 7 15 10 12 Mostly disagree 29 17 23 25 21 32 Disagree 61 61 64 49 63 51

NOTE: All numbers are percentages. Click on the PDF to the right of the article to read the full report.

Kate Rivard January 18, 2013 at 02:55 AM
Please share the data about 8th and 10th graders. My understanding is that eight graders do a lot(!) of experimenting as it's the last year that their grades don't count yet; and they are tempted to feel empowered by older siblings or students who have moved on into high school to be risky. Pehaps this could be a future test.

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