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Teen Suicide
Teen Suicide in United States
United States

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Teen Suicide in depth:

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Teen Suicide by State

Number of deaths by suicide per 100,000 adolescents ages 15-19




Teen Suicide Trends

Number of deaths by suicide per 100,000 adolescents ages 15-19


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Teen Suicide




About Teen Suicide

US Value: 10.8

Top State(s): Massachusetts: 5.0

Bottom State(s): Alaska: 40.4

Definition: Number of deaths by suicide per 100,000 adolescents ages 15-19

Data Source and Years: CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files, 2018-2020

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files, United Health Foundation, AmericasHealthRankings.org, accessed 2023.

Suicide is a serious public health problem among all age groups. Among youth, it exacts an enormous toll due to the significant years of potential life lost. In 2020, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among those ages 10-24 and 25-34. 

In addition to those who die by suicide, there are many more adolescents who have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide and survive. Youth suicidal ideation, attempt and completion are on the rise. Results from the 2019 Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System show that 18.8% of high school students seriously considered attempting suicide and 8.9% actually attempted suicide. The cost of suicide in the United States in 2019 was estimated to be $926 billion in medical costs, loss of productivity and value of statistical life.

Risk factors associated with suicide among adolescents include:

  • Psychiatric disorders such as major depressive, bipolar, substance use and conduct disorders.
  • Psychiatric comorbidity, especially the combination of mood, disruptive and substance abuse disorders.
  • Family history of depression or suicide.
  • Loss of a parent to death or divorce.
  • Physical and sexual abuse.
  • Lack of a support network.
  • Feelings of social isolation.  
  • Bullying.

The teen suicide rate is higher among: 

  • Males compared with females. However, females attempt suicide more often than males.
  • American Indian/Alaska Native adolescents compared with other racial and ethnic groups, by an extreme margin. White adolescents have a higher suicide rate compared with Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic and Black adolescents. 
  • Suicide attempts are higher among students who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual compared with students who identify as heterosexual.

Youth suicide is preventable. Prevention efforts can be aimed at all levels of influence: individual, relationship, community and societal. Suicide rates for at-risk youth can be substantially reduced by:

  • Knowing the signs. Four out of 5 suicide deaths are preceded by warning signs such as suicidal threats, previous suicide attempts, depression, preoccupation or obsession with death or making final arrangements.  
  • Making it more difficult to die in an act of deliberate self-harm. Interventions include building barriers on bridges, removing guns from homes with at-risk youth, lethal means counseling and reducing the medication load available. 
  • Improving access to mental health resources. Examples include medical interventions, support groups, effective clinical care for mental disorders and family and community support. 

Youth.gov provides several resources that may be used to prevent youth suicide. In 2022 the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was launched to provide an easy-to-remember number and 24/7 confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources, by call, text or online chat. The previous National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800-273-TALK(8255)) is also active and can still be used.

Healthy People 2030 has an objective to reduce the rate of suicide attempts by adolescents.

Barber, Catherine W., and Matthew J. Miller. 2014. “Reducing a Suicidal Person’s Access to Lethal Means of Suicide.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 47 (3): S264–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.05.028.

Cash, Scottye J., and Jeffrey A. Bridge. 2009. “Epidemiology of Youth Suicide and Suicidal Behavior.” Current Opinion in Pediatrics 21 (5): 613–19. https://doi.org/10.1097/MOP.0b013e32833063e1.

Ivey-Stephenson, Asha Z., Zewditu Demissie, Alexander E. Crosby, Deborah M. Stone, Elizabeth Gaylor, Natalie Wilkins, Richard Lowry, and Margaret Brown. 2020. “Suicidal Ideation and Behaviors Among High School Students — Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2019.” MMWR Supplements 69 (1): 47–55. https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.su6901a6.

Miron, Oren, Kun-Hsing Yu, Rachel Wilf-Miron, and Isaac S. Kohane. 2019. “Suicide Rates Among Adolescents and Young Adults in the United States, 2000-2017.” JAMA 321 (23): 2362. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2019.5054.

Peterson, Cora, Gabrielle F. Miller, Sarah Beth L. Barnett, and Curtis Florence. 2021. “Economic Cost of Injury — United States, 2019.” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 70 (48): 1655–59. https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7048a1.

Zalsman, Gil, Keith Hawton, Danuta Wasserman, Kees van Heeringen, Ella Arensman, Marco Sarchiapone, Vladimir Carli, et al. 2016. “Suicide Prevention Strategies Revisited: 10-Year Systematic Review.” The Lancet Psychiatry 3 (7): 646–59. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30030-X.

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