The Center for Disease Control (CDC) developed the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) to monitor high-risk behaviors among teens and young adults. One of the behaviors monitored are suicides. The Center for Drug and Health Studies (CDHS) at the University of Delaware conducts Delaware’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). It administers the Youth Risk Behavior Survey to middle school and high school students across the state.
Statistics: Delaware High School Students in 2015
14% considered suicide in the prior 12 months – 4 students in a class of 28
11% made a plan in the prior 12 months.
7.6% attempted suicide in the prior 12 months – this represents about 3000 students a year
2.3% attempted suicide and received medical care as a result.
Although Delaware is below the national average in each of these categories, this should be of little comfort since thousands of lives are at risk.
What This Means:
The two last numbers above, 7.6% and 2.3%, show that many more students attempt suicide but only a relatively small number 2.3% seek medical assistance. This means that most suicidal students do not get help since nobody knows about the attempt! An attempt for a student might be taking four pills at bedtime planning to die but waking up the next morning and going to school. Typically, students do not tell anyone about what they did, except possibly a friend.
The Lifelines Suicide Prevention program, which was taught to 15,000 middle school students in Delaware from 2012 to 2014 under DPBHS’ SAMHSA Garret Lee Smith Grant. This program focused on educating middle school students to get help for her friend if she learns a friend is suicidal. All students and adults should respond to a statement related to suicide very seriously.For a student, it would mean telling an adult about his/her suicidal friend. For adults, it would mean offering to help them seek a mental health professional to complete an evaluation. Crisis services are available, for both children and adults, to complete suicide assessments.
Mobile Response and Stabilization Services (children/youth): 1-800-969-HELP (4357)
Crisis Intervention (Adult): 800-652-2929 (Northern Delaware)
800-345-6785 (Southern Delaware)
Suicide Warning Signs:
Get immediate attention for a child or teen who makes statements or displays behaviors related to wanting to harm themselves or die. Warning signs indicate a child or teen is struggling. Too many warning signs might indicate a child or teen is suicidal. Lifelines* uses the word FACTS to remember the warning signs.