Youth Suicide Risk
Suicide has been a public health concern in the state of Montana for decades. Both statewide and local efforts are being taken to prevent youth suicide in the Bitterroot Valley.
Data from Suicide in Montana Facts, Figures, and Facts, Figures and Formulas for Prevention Formulas *2 idicated that in Montana during 2010, there were 29 youth suicides (ages 15-24) for a rate of 21.66 (per 100,000). This compares to the national rate for the same age group of 10.54 (per 100,000).
It can be difficult to understand the data related to suicide in youth. Suicide is a difficult event to measure for multiple reasons and it can become more difficult as the focus in placed on a small community. One source of information that is helpful in understanding youth suicide behaviors comes from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. This data is especially usefuly as survey is given to students at Bitterroot schools.
YRBS DATA - 2013 WEST REGION YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEY
Question - During the past 12 months, did you ever feel so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that you stopped doing some usual activities?
Youth Response - Yes 26.56%
Question - During the past 12 months, did you ever seriously consider attempting suicide?
Youth Response - Yes 17.32%
Question - During the past 12 months, did you make a plan about how you would attempt suicide?
Youth Response - Yes 13.80%
Question - During the past 12 months, how many times did you actually attempt suicide?
Youth Response - 1 time 10.07%
2 or 3 times 2.12%
4 or 5 times 0.20%
6 or more times 1.13%
Question - If you attempted suicide during the past 12 months, did any attempt result in an injury, poisoning, or overdose that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse?
Youth Response - Yes 3.51%
CREATING A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE FOR THESE RATES
Sometimes understanding rates without an example can be difficult. Using the rates listed above, consider how this might look when considering a hypothetical Western Montana high school of 400 students.
During last year 106 students felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities.
During last year 69 students seriously considered attempting suicide.
During last year 55 students made a plan about how they would attempt suicide.
During last year 40 students actually attempt suicide 1 time, 8 students actually attempted suicide 2 or 3 times, 1 student actually attempted suicide 4 or 5 times and 4 students actually attempted suicide 6 or more times.
During last year of those students that attempted suicide, 14 students' attempts led to an injury, poisoning, or overdose that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse.
This school might expect to have a completed suicide every 11.5 years.