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3 million U.S. Teens Contemplate Suicide

WASHINGTON (Reuters) –Three million American teens have thought seriously about or even attempted suicide, a government survey released Sunday showed. More than 13 percent of young Americans between 14 and 17 years of age considered suicide in 2000, the report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found. Only 36 percent of them had received mental health treatment or counseling, SAMHSA said. Depression is the main cause of suicide, SAMHSA administrator Charles Curie said in a statement. “We need to help teens make the link between untreated depression and the risk for suicide, and help them identify serious depression or suicide risk in a friend,” Curie said. “We must encourage teens to tell a responsible adult when a friend is at risk for suicide.” More than a third of the three million teens aged 12 to 17 who said they thought about suicide in the past 12 months actually tried it, the survey, the first of its kind ever done by SAMHSA, found. Girls were twice as likely as boys to say they thought about suicide, but race did not seem to make a difference, the report found. Nor did whether the teens lived in the city, suburbs or country. The highest rate was in the western part of the country, where 13.5 percent of children aged 12 to 17 reported having had thoughts of suicide.

Copyright 2002 Reuters. All rights reserved.

More information: Depression in Children and Adolescents

or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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